Acting as an astronaut, William Shatner – the captain of Star Trek fame James Kirk – did just that on Wednesday, becoming the oldest person in space on a rocket to fly through the company blue of billionaire Jeff Bezos at the age of 90. In appearance, the actor had a profound experience.
Shatner was one of four passengers who traveled 10 minutes and 17 seconds aboard the new fully autonomous 60-foot (18.3-meter-high) new Shepherd spacecraft, about 20 miles from the Blue Origin launch site. (32 km) outside the village of Van Horn, West Texas.
The crew returned to the Texas desert from a submarine under capsule parachutes, lifting a cloud of dust. Shatner slowly emerged from the capsule in desert silence, while others cheered as bottles of champagne erupted.
Bezos was on hand and embracing Shatner, who was wearing a hat and a blue airplane.
As the two talked for several minutes, Shatner told Bezos, “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine.” “I’m very emotional about what happened now.”
The entire crew traveled about 65.8 miles (106 km) from Earth’s surface, enjoying a few minutes of weightlessness – the boundary of the internationally recognized spacecraft, the Kerman Line, is about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth.
Bezos, the founder and current CEO of Amazon, which was founded over two decades ago, marks the second spaceflight for the Blue Origin. Bezos flew the first flight in July.
Shatner – who embodied the promise of space travel in the classic 1960s television series Star Trek and seven subsequent films – said he was prepared to experience weightlessness, but was amazed at the dramatic contrast of the beauty of the blue earth and the darkness of space.
“You see black, black ugly,” Shatner said. “You look down, blue is down – and black is up – that’s it, Mother Earth.”
“It’s life, it’s death, in a moment, you know – oh – it’s death,” Shatner said. “That’s what I saw.”
“Is death like that?” Shatner asked.
Before the flight, each astronaut struck an hour and then entered the capsule at the top of the rocket shift, frying the bezos. After about two delays of about 45 minutes the wind was light and the sky was clear.
Shatner was joined by former NASA engineer Chris Boschusen, medical research entrepreneur Glenn de Vries and Blue Origin vice president and engineer Audrey Powers.
‘Lift me up’
Shatner, who turned 90 in March, has been acting since the 1950s and has been busy with entertainment programs and fan conferences. He is best known for his role as James Tiberius Kirk, Captain of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek.
During the opening credits of each episode of the series, he called space the “final frontier” and promised to “explore strange new worlds, explore new life and new civilizations, and boldly go to a place where no one can go.”
“Beam Me Up,” Shatner’s character was played by James Dohan, the enterprise’s chief engineer.
Shatner’s participation helped create the ad for the Blue Origin as it competed with two billionaire-backed rivals, Elon Muskin’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
According to UPS, the flight is another milestone for the new space tourism industry, which could reach an annual value of $ 3 billion (approximately Rs. 22,590 crore) in a decade.
The Blue Origin embarked on its first successful space cruise on July 20, with Bezos and three others on a 10-minute, 10-second voyage. On that flight, the 82-year-old pioneer female pilot Wally Funk became the oldest person to reach space. Previous record Pioneer astronaut John Glenn returned to space in 1998 as a 77-year-old U.S. senator.
Branson began his space travel service on July 11, riding in a submarine with six people on board. SpaceX launched its space tourism business by flying the first all crew to reach Earth’s orbit in a three-day voyage ending on September 18th.
In his annual address to world leaders last month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized “millionaires rejoicing in space while millions are hungry on earth.”
When asked about Shatner’s flight, UN spokesman Stephen Dujarric said on Wednesday, “I really believe what he said in the General Assembly.”
© Thomson Reuters 2021