Crew around William Shatner (2nd from right)
Photo: BLUE ORIGIN / via REUTERS
William Shatner has returned to earth safe and sound.
After stepping out of the space capsule, the "Star Trek" actor said in tears: "It was indescribable (...) Everyone in the world has to do it, everyone has to see it." Before that, on Wednesday Shatner had on board the rocket system "New Shepard ”of Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin undertook a ten-minute excursion into space.
At 90 years old, Shatner is the oldest person ever to have traveled into space: »This experience moved me so much.
I am so full of emotion.
I'm overwhelmed, I had no idea. "
Former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, entrepreneur Glen de Vries and Blue Origin deputy head Audrey Powers completed the flight together with the actor.
The "New Shepard" missile system flies - unlike the TV spaceship "Enterprise" - largely automated.
The capsule, which was separated from the rocket during the flight, reached a height of around 107 kilometers above the earth, at times with zero gravity, before the reusable object landed again, braked by large parachutes.
The International Aviation Association and many other experts see 100 kilometers above the earth as the limit to space, but there are no binding international regulations.
The weather messed up the start date
The flight, which was actually planned for Tuesday, had previously been postponed by a day due to stronger winds.
Due to numerous technical checks, the start on Wednesday was postponed by more than an hour.
It was the second manned flight of the "New Shepard" missile system named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space.
The first in July, Bezos himself was on board, along with his brother Mark, an 82-year-old former US pilot and an 18-year-old Dutchman.
As with the first flight, the reusable rocket stage landed vertically on earth after takeoff.
Blue Origin has announced another manned flight for this year and several for next year.
Great advertising success for the Amazon boss
The flight of "Captain Kirk" is seen as a PR coup for Bezos and his company.
Unlike Boshuizen and De Vries, Shatner did not have to pay for his ticket, but was a "guest" of Blue Origin.
For the 90-year-old, the experiences at great heights were almost disturbing: »It was different from what is always described and different from anything I have ever seen or experienced.
It's so huge and so fast, and it's about the suddenness of life and death.
You only see black out there - and on earth you see blue and light.
What I really want to tell everyone is how vulnerable and fragile everything is - there is only this thin layer of atmosphere that keeps us alive. "
jok / dpa