Hollywood Captain Kirk, William Shatner, 90, exploded into space on Wednesday in a convergence of sci-fi and science reality, reaching the last frontier aboard a ship built by Jeff’s Blue Origin company Bezos.
The Star Trek actor and three other passengers rushed to an altitude of 107 kilometers above the West Texas desert in the fully automated capsule, then were safely parachuted to Earth on a flight which lasted just over 10 minutes.
“What you have given me is the most profound experience,” an elated Shatner told Bezos after exiting the capsule, the words pouring out of him in a soliloquy almost as long as the flight. “I hope I never get over it. Hope I can maintain what I am feeling now. I don’t want to lose it.
He said that going from the blue sky to the total darkness of space was a moving experience: “In an instant you go, whoa, it’s death. This is what I saw.
Sci-fi fans reveled in the opportunity to see the man best known as the loyal Captain James T. Kirk of the Enterprise spaceship boldly go where no American TV star has gone before. .
“It’s a pinching moment for all of us to see Captain James Tiberius Kirk go into space,” said Jacki Cortese, Blue Origin launch commentator, before take off. She said she, like so many others, was drawn to the space sector by shows like Star Trek.
Jeff Bezos is a huge Star Trek fan – the founder of Amazon made an appearance as an alien in one of the last Star Trek films – and William Shatner rode for free as a guest.
The takeoff brought invaluable star power to Bezos’ spaceship company, given its appeal to baby boomers, celebrity watchers, and space enthusiasts. Shatner starred in the original Star Trek on television from 1966 to 1969, when the United States was running for the moon, and then appeared in a series of Star Trek films.
Bezos himself led the four crew members to the platform, accompanied them to the above-ground platform, and closed the hatch after they boarded. the 60-foot rocket. A jubilant Bezos was there to greet them when the capsule returned to Earth under its shining blue and red parachutes.
“Hello, astronauts. Welcome to Earth! ”Bezos said as he opened the hatch of the New Shepard capsule, named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard.
William Shatner said he was struck by the vulnerability of the Earth and the relative brightness of its atmosphere.
“Everyone in the world has to do it. Everyone in the world needs to see, ”he said. “See the color blue go by and now you look in the dark, that’s the thing. The blue blanket, this sheath, this blanket, this blue comforter that we have around, we say, ‘Oh, that’s the blue sky.’ And then suddenly you go through it all, and you look in the dark, in the dark ugliness. “
He said the return to Earth was more shaking than his training had suggested and made him wonder if he was going to return home alive.
“Everything is much more powerful,” he said. “Bang, this thing hits. It wasn’t like the simulator at all. … Will I be able to survive the G forces? Will I be able to survive it?
Blue Origin said William Shatner and the rest of the crew met all medical and physical requirements, including the ability to climb and descend several flights of stairs to the launch tower. Passengers are subjected to nearly 6 G, or six times the force of Earth’s gravity, when the capsule returns to Earth.
Shatner shooting in space is “the craziest thing I think I’ve ever seen,” said Joseph Barra, a bartender who helped organize the Blue Origin launch week festivities. “William Shatner sets the bar high for what a 90 year old man can do.”
The flight comes as the space tourism industry finally takes off, with passengers traveling aboard ships built and operated by some of the richest men in the world.
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson led the way by traveling to space in his own rocket in July, followed by Jeff Bezos nine days later on Blue Origin’s first flight with a crew. Elon Musk’s SpaceX made its first private trip in mid-September, but without Musk on board.
Last week the The Russians sent an actor and a director to the International Space Station for a filmmaking project.
Blue Origin said it plans one more passenger flight this year and several more in 2022. Looking like the human and idealistic Captain Kirk himself, the company said its goal was to “democratize space.”
William Shatner joined Audrey Powers, vice president of Blue Origin and former space station flight controller for NASA, and two paying clients: Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer who co-founded a company of satellites, and Glen de Vries of a 3D software company. Blue Origin would not disclose the cost of its tickets.