William Shatner set to launch on Blue Origin New Shepard flight

Greater than 50 years after he debuted because the beloved Capt. James T. Kirk within the authentic collection of “Star Trek,” William Shatner boldly flew to the sting of house.

The 90-year-old actor launched Wednesday aboard a rocket and capsule developed by Blue Origin, the non-public spaceflight firm based by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The historic joyride made Shatner the oldest particular person to achieve house.

“It was unbelievable,” Shatner mentioned shortly after rising from the capsule. “I am so crammed with emotion.”

Shatner and three different crew members — Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vp of mission and flight operations, and two paying clients, Glen de Vries and Chris Boshuizen — rode Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule to the sting of house. Liftoff occurred at round 10:50 a.m. ET and the whole flight lasted roughly 10 minutes.

Bezos escorted the 4 passengers to the launch pad and greeted them after their spacecraft touched down once more. After Shatner climbed out of the capsule, he hugged Bezos and shared how moved he was by the temporary journey.

“What you may have given me is essentially the most profound expertise I can think about,” he instructed Bezos via tears. “I’m overwhelmed. I had no concept.”

Shatner recalled feeling jittery earlier than liftoff, and spoke about what it was prefer to speed up to the sting of house. He additionally described seeing the planet’s skinny environment and gazing again on the curvature of Earth.

“There’s this mushy blue,” Shatner mentioned. “And it’s so skinny. And also you’re via it straight away.”

Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries are scheduled to launch Oct. 13, 2021.Blue Origin / through AP

In the course of the flight, the “Star Trek” actor tweeted a quote from the Seventeenth-century physicist Isaac Newton: “I have no idea what I could seem to the world, however to myself I appear to have been solely like a boy enjoying on the seashore, diverting myself in now & then discovering a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than unusual, while the nice ocean of reality lay all undiscovered earlier than me.”

The mission was delayed by practically an hour as crews on the launch pad labored to make sure that the rocket was prepared for flight. Beforehand, excessive winds on the Texas launch website additionally pressured Blue Origin to push the expedition from its initially scheduled time earlier within the week.

In an interview final week with NBC’s “TODAY” present, Shatner spoke about his anticipation for the upcoming flight.

“I’m going to see the vastness of house and the extraordinary miracle of our Earth and the way fragile it’s in comparison with the forces at work within the universe — that’s actually what I’m on the lookout for,” he mentioned.

Shatner’s journey was Blue Origin’s second launch of an all-civilian crew. The corporate’s inaugural flight in July was a high-profile and high-stakes occasion, with Bezos, his brother and two different passengers onboard.

The New Shepard rocket and capsule are designed for suborbital jaunts, which do not truly enter into orbit round Earth however fairly fly to the sting of house, at an altitude of greater than 65 miles, the place passengers can expertise round 4 minutes of weightlessness.

Wednesday’s flight launched from a website in west Texas, southeast of El Paso. After liftoff, the rocket accelerated towards house at 3 times the velocity of sound. At an altitude of roughly 250,000 ft, the New Shepard capsule separated, taking Shatner and his crew members to the sting of house.

After reaching a peak altitude of 351,000 ft, the craft then descended beneath parachutes and landed once more within the Texas desert.

Shatner’s expedition was the most recent in what has been a current flurry of house tourism flights. 9 days earlier than Bezos flew to the sting of house, British billionaire Richard Branson accomplished his personal suborbital joyride, using aboard a rocket-powered car developed by his personal house tourism firm, Virgin Galactic.

Neither Blue Origin nor Virgin Galactic have introduced ultimate pricing for his or her suborbital flights, however tickets are anticipated to value a number of a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars}.

And along with journeys to the sting of house, folks with deep pockets could quickly be capable of pay for orbital experiences and extra extended stays in microgravity.

Final month, SpaceX, the spaceflight firm based by billionaire Elon Musk, launched 4 non-public passengers into orbit round Earth on a three-day expedition. That flight made historical past as the primary orbital launch with an all-civilian crew.

SpaceX can also be making ready to launch three non-public passengers, who every paid $55 million, to the Worldwide Area Station in early 2022.

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