‘The most profound experience’ – Star Trek actor Shatner becomes oldest person in space

Star Trek actor William Shatner has become the oldest person to reach space, calling his trip “the most profound experience”.

The 90-year-old blasted off from Texas at 3.50pm UK time on a Blue Origin rocket – the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, spent several minutes in a suborbital flight alongside three others.

After touching down, an emotional Shatner placed his hands on Bezos’s shoulders and told him “what you have given me is the most profound experience… I’m so filled with emotion”.

William Shatner
Image: William Shatner

Before the launch, Shatner admitted he was a “little frightened”.

Live – Shatner blasts to edge of space on Amazon founder’s rocket

The 18-metre New Shepard rocket sent the quartet just above the internationally-recognised boundary of space known as the Karman Line, reaching about 66 miles (106km).

More on Blue Origin

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Image: The capsule landed in the desert at about 4.01pm UK time

The reusable rocket detached from the capsule carrying the astronauts and landed itself upright back on the launch pad.

Shatner experienced weightlessness in his space trip before three large parachutes delivered the capsule back gently to Earth, touching down in the desert at about 15mph.

Bezos opened the capsule’s hatch as Shatner and the others stepped out to cheers and hugs from their families.

This undated photo made available by Blue Origin in October 2021 shows, from left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. (Blue Origin via AP)
Image: From left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. Pic: AP

The others on the flight were NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, clinical research entrepreneur Glen de Vries and Blue Origin vice president and engineer Audrey Powers

Blue Origin’s rocket system is called New Shepard, named after the Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard who was the first American to go into space.

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket launches carrying passengers Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Image: Blue Origin made its maiden space tourism flight with Bezos and others on board on 20 July

The company aims to attract regular paying customers in future and had its maiden space tourism flight on 20 July, when Bezos and three others flew to the edge of space.

Other billionaires are also competing in the space race, notably Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

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