At 90 years old, Shatner has become the oldest person to travel into space.
Captain Kirk made his way back to space! William Shatner, who played the iconic Captain in the spacial series Star Trek has become the oldest person to travel into space in history. Aboard the New Shepard rocket, owned and developed by billionaire Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company, the actor finally transitioned from television spaceship sets to a real one.
At 90 years old, Shatner has become the oldest person to travel into space. He was joined by three other astronauts: two paid space travelers - Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of nanosatellite company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, co-founder of a clinical research platform - and Audrey Powers, vice president of Missions and Flight Operations at Blue Origin.
New Shepard departed West Texas (USA) more than an hour late, at 09.50 local times (14.50 GMT), as originally planned. The space travelers were placed in a capsule at the top of the rocket that rose to more than 62 miles high (about 100 kilometers high) before returning to Earth, in a journey that lasted about 10 minutes. Once in space, the capsule detached from the rocket before descending safely.
Upon their return to Earth, Shatner tweeted a quote from Isaac Newton: "I know not what it may seem to the world, but to me, it has been like a child playing on the seashore amusing itself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary ones, while the great ocean of truth stretches undiscovered before my eyes."
Once they touched down on Earth, the space travelers were greeted by Bezos himself who embraced them as they exited the capsule. Shatner was visibly moved by the experience and told Bezos that he hopes he never forgets what he felt. "It's the most profound experience I could have ever had, it's extraordinary," the actor told Bezos while noting how he had seen "the vulnerability of the air" that keeps humanity alive.
Shatner flew for the first time in real life into space, after doing so in fiction aboard the mythical ship "Enterprise" in the series Star Trek, which aired its first episode in 1966 and lasted three seasons. The artist later returned to play Captain Kirk in six films between 1979 and 1991.
This flight comes after the 60-foot-tall (about 18.2 meters) rocket was tested 15 times without a crew before making its first trip with people on board on July 20, with Bezos himself, his brother Mark and two other people taking part. The capsule is called New Shepard in homage to Alan Shepard, the first American to reach space in 1961 and one of the astronauts to have set foot on the moon.
The project has not been without controversy: last September, former Blue Origin Employee Communications Director Alexandra Abrams published a text with complaints from a score of unidentified workers and former workers of the company, who denounced a toxic work environment. The text denounced a corporate culture marked by sexism, with some managers treating female employees inappropriately.
Text and photos courtesy of EFE
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards