Actor William Shatner, who is best known for his role in the original "Star Trek" series and the first six films in the "Star Trek" movie franchise took an 11-minute trip into space aboard a Blue Origin flight this morning. Shatner rode alongside three other passengers in Blue Origin rocket for his first-ever real-life space travel after appearing in space movies. The flight, New Shepard rocket NS-18 from Blue Origin's West Texas launch site took off at 7:00 PM IST.
"We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning. It looks like there’s a great deal of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space. So let’s go along with it and enjoy the ride," Shatner said in a Blue Origin video posted on the eve of his flight.
Blue Origin on Wednesday launched famed actor William Shatner, Glen de Vries co-founder of Medidata Solutions, Dr. Chris Boshuizen founder of PlanetLabs, and Audrey Powers on a short trip beyond Earth to experience what it feels to be weightless in space.
The company did not disclose how much any of the passengers had paid or whether any had been allowed to fly for free, though Shatner had said that Blue Origin approached him about taking the flight.
The mission marked the second successful crewed launch and landing for billionaire Jeff Bezos-led company, which is fighting hard to get a share of the emerging space transportation sector, largely dominated by Elon Musk-led SpaceX and its falcon-9 rockets.
The 90-year-old actor is best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" franchise and have an acting career for six decades. His other notable credits include "T.J. Hooker," "Rescue 911" and "The Practice." Along with acting, Shatner is also the host of "The UnXplained" on The History Channel, which explores world mysteries, including aliens.
"I've heard about space for a long time now. I'm taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle," Shatner said in a press release on Oct. 4.
Shatner will be making history as the oldest man to fly in space, surpassing Wally Funk, 82, who flew with Bezos on a Blue Origin flight in July. She’s an accomplished pilot with more than 18,600 flight hours under her belt.
“I’m overwhelmed. I had no idea. We were talking earlier, yeah, it’s going to be different – whatever that phrase is that you have a different view of things, it doesn’t begin to explain, to describe what, for me," he said upon exiting his Blue Origin flight as reported by CNN.
After landing back on Earth, Shatner said the flight was "the most profound experience" he could imagine. "I hope I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it."
The Blue Origin flight sent the capsule soaring to 347,539 feet above ground level at its highest point, or apogee, according to a tweet from Blue Origin’s official Twitter account.
“The booster reached an apogee of 347,160 ft [above ground level],” the company added.
The official launch time was 10:49 a.m. ET and that the capsule landed at 10:59 a.m. ET, Blue Origin said. The mission was 10 minutes and 17 seconds with a max velocity of 2,235 mph.
Today's flight was the “19th consecutive successful crew capsule landing (every flight in the program, including a pad escape test in 2012,)” the company said.
(with inputs from sources)
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