Captain Kirk’s real Star Trek thanks to Bezos’s enterprise
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 actor, 90, 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.
Billionaire Amazon founder Mr Bezos was behind Shatner’s trip to the stars through his Blue Origin space travel company.
Shatner and three other passengers lifted off in the fully automated, 60ft tall New Shepard rocket from Van Horn, west Texas, slightly later than planned in order to give experts more time to monitor winds in the area.
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.
The actor and those on board experienced weightlessness as they reached the fringes of space. 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, Shatner said: “It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.”
Bezos pinned a badge on the passengers to signify they had been to space.
Shatner and his crewmates, dressed in their striking blue flight suits, had rang a silver bell before being strapped into the capsule, with Mr Bezos closing the door behind them.
They were not required to wear helmets.