Dear Commons Community,
Shatner, an Emmy Award-winning actor, 90, set off for the adventure of a lifetime thanks to Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin.
Taking off from Launch Site One in West Texas around 10:50 a.m. ET, Shatner was one of four crew members aboard the New Shepard rocket.
“That was unlike anything they described,” Shatner said as the capsule descended to Earth thanks to a giant parachute minutes later.
“That’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.” he added. Video above of the flight includes more comments from Shatner that begin at the 25 minute – 40 second mark.
Joining the star were Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, as well as crew members Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries.
“It’s life-changing in its way, not because of the aerial adventure, but because of the people I’m meeting,” Shatner said in a video that aired during Blue Origin’s livestream.
Speaking of the joy that space travel can bring, Shatner added, “We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is — how extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning.”
Bezos joined the crew on the launch pad before Shatner, Powers, Boshuizen and de Vries entered the space vehicle and made final preparations for takeoff. The Amazon billionaire took the honors of closing the hatch.
Bezos revealed on Instagram that Shatner is taking along a special possession for him.
“I made these tricorders and communicator to play Star Trek with my friends when I was 9 years old, and my incredible mom saved them for 48 years,” Bezos wrote.
“She dug them up this past week, and @WilliamShatner has agreed to take them up into space for me tomorrow,” he added. “Please don’t judge me for the artwork. Thank you, Bill!”
According to Blue Origin’s official website, the New Shepard suborbital vehicle can seat six astronauts, and since the ship is “fully autonomous,” there is no pilot.
The reusable craft’s 11-minute flights are “designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line — the internationally recognized boundary of space,” the company’s website says.
Addressing recent headlines about the safety of the vehicle, Blue Origin employees pointed out during the launch livestream that the New Shepard vehicle completed multiple tests without a crew in a years-long process that began in 2015.
Someday, everyday people will be able to take this ride and maybe come to appreciate a bit more the wonders of our planet and beyond.