Fiction became reality on October 13, 2021, when William Shatner, who played Captain James T Kirk in Star Trek, launched into space aboard Blue Origin’s second crewed mission.
Actor, writer and director Shatner, 90, became the oldest person to travel to space, passing the Kármán line that defines the boundary between Earth and space, in a mission that lasted just under 11 minutes.
The Star Trek Actor took the record from aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who was 82 when she joined Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos on the company’s first space tourism flight on July 20, 2021.
After landing, an emotional William Shatner commented: “Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see. It was unbelievable. To see the blue whip by and now you’re staring at the blackness. There is mother Earth and comfort and there is… death, I don’t know. It was so moving.”
“What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I hope I never recover from this,” Shatner told Bezos.
Due to winds, New Shepard’s 18th mission, NS-18, delayed its launch from October 12.
The mission carried four astronauts. Dr Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries and Audrey Powers are joining Shatner for the ride to space and back.
Powers, an engineer, lawyer and pilot, is Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations and has been with the company since 2013, helping it to achieve certification for human flight.
“I’m so proud and humbled to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I’m excited to continue writing Blue’s human spaceflight history,” Powers said when her flight was announced on October 4, 2021.
Shatner and Powers were joined on board by paying customers Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer, and de Vries, a private pilot and founder of clinical research platform Medidate.
It was the fourth successful landing for the booster vehicle.
UPDATED 10-13-2021 with completion of mission
Special delivery: #NS18 astronauts put pen to postcard ahead of their flight. When they take to the skies, they’ll boldly go where no mail carrier has gone before. #postcardstospace pic.twitter.com/FjG4TR42we— Club for the Future (@clubforfuture) October 12, 2021