Star Trek’s William Shatner described becoming the oldest person in space as “the most profound experience I can imagine” after blasting off from the Texas desert in a rocket built by Jeff Bezos’s company.
The 90-year-old’s trip into orbit was delayed earlier this week due to winds but took off from Launch Site One at Van Horn in West Texas today.
However, he reached the final frontier on Wednesday, delighting the millions of sci-fi fans who know him as Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise.
According to a live stream of the historic event, Shatner and his fellow passengers reached an altitude of roughly 350,000ft and a velocity of about 2,000mph.
During the flight, Shatner and the crew experienced a short period of weightlessness as they climbed to a maximum altitude and were able to see the curvature of the Earth through the capsule’s windows.
After a trip lasting about 10 minutes, the capsule fell back to Earth with the aid of a parachute.
Shatner was the second passenger to step out of the capsule and was embraced by a delighted Bezos.
The actor, who became emotional while speaking to the billionaire, said: “Everyone in the world needs to do this.”
Shatner said he was shocked by the difference in the blue sky of Earth and the vast blackness of space, adding: “It was so moving to me. This experience has been unbelievable.”
He appeared stunned in his conversation with Bezos, admitting he was taken aback by how quickly he reached space. “In a way it’s indescribable,” he said.
Shatner added it was “the most profound experience I can imagine”.
He said: “I am so filled with emotion about what just happened, it’s extraordinary. Extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me.”
Further trying to explain the experience to Bezos, Shatner said: “It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.”
The veteran actor joined three others, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey Powers, and two paying customers, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries onboard New Shepard NS-18.
Shatner and his crewmates, dressed in their striking blue flight suits, rang a silver bell before being strapped into the capsule, with Bezos closing the door behind them.
They were not required to wear helmets, with Blue Origin saying it wanted its passengers to have an unencumbered view of space.
It is Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Jeff Bezos used for his own launch three months ago.