Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

'Profound experience': Star Trek's Shatner becomes world's oldest space traveler

Stock MarketsOct 13, 2021 02:37PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Actor William Shatner performs at The Canyon Club in Agoura, California October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni 2/2

By Mike Blake

VAN HORN, Texas (Reuters) -Having made a career out of playing an explorer of the cosmos, William Shatner - Captain James Kirk of "Star Trek" fame - did it for real on Wednesday, becoming at age 90 the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by billionaire Jeff Bezos's company Blue Origin, an experience the actor called profound.

Shatner was one of four passengers to journey for 10 minutes and 17 seconds to the edge of space aboard the white fully autonomous 60-foot-tall (18.3 meters-tall) New Shepard spacecraft, which took off from Blue Origin's launch site about 20 miles (32 km) outside the rural west Texas town of Van Horn.

The crew capsule returned to the Texas desert from the suborbital flight under parachutes, raising a cloud of dust. Shatner emerged gingerly from the capsule in the desert silence, appearing reflective as the others celebrated by cheering and popping champagne bottles.

Bezos was on hand and embraced Shatner, who was wearing a cap and a blue flight suit with the company's name in white letters on one sleeve.

"What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine," Shatner told Bezos as the two chatted for several minutes. "I am so filled with emotion about what just happened."

The all-civilian crew experienced a few minutes of weightlessness, having traveled about 65.8 miles (106 km) above the Earth's surface - higher than the internationally recognized boundary of space known as the Karman Line, about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth.

It marked the second space tourism flight for Blue Origin, the company Bezos - the Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) founder and current executive chairman - founded two decades ago. Bezos flew aboard the first one in July.

Shatner - who embodied the promise of space travel in the classic 1960s TV series "Star Trek" and seven subsequent films - said he had prepared himself for experiencing weightlessness, but was stunned at the dramatic contrast of the beauty of the blue Earth and the blackness of space.

"You're looking into blackness, into black ugliness," Shatner said. "And you look down, there's the blue down there - and the black up there - and it's just, there is Mother Earth."

"This is life and that's death, and in an instant, you know - whoa - that's death," Shatner said. "That's what I saw."

"Is that the way death is?" Shatner asked.

Before the flight, each astronaut rang a bell and then entered the capsule atop the rocketship, with Bezos closing the hatch. Winds were light and skies were clear for the launch, conducted after two delays totaling roughly 45 minutes.

Joining Shatner were former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, clinical research entrepreneur Glen de Vries and Blue Origin vice president and engineer Audrey Powers https://www.blueorigin.com/news/shatner-powers-announced-ns18.

'BEAM ME UP'

Shatner, who turned 90 in March, has been acting since the 1950s and remains busy with entertainment projects and fan conventions. He is best known for starring as Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the starship Enterprise on "Star Trek."

During the opening credits of each episode of the series, he called space "the final frontier" and promised "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

"Beam me up," Shatner's character would tell the Enterprise's chief engineer Scotty, played by James Doohan, in a memorable catchphrase when he needed to be transported to the starship.

Shatner's participation helped generate publicity for Blue Origin as it competes against two billionaire-backed rivals - Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE:SPCE) Inc - to attract customers willing to pay large sums to experience spaceflight.

The flight represented another important day for the nascent space tourism industry that, according to UBS, could reach an annual value of $3 billion in a decade.

Blue Origin had a successful debut space tourism flight on July 20, with Bezos and three others aboard on a trip lasting 10 minutes and 10 seconds. On that flight, pioneering female aviator Wally Funk https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/pioneering-female-aviator-wally-funk-is-americas-new-sweetheart-2021-07-20 at age 82 became the oldest person to reach space. The previous record was set in 1998 when pioneering astronaut John Glenn returned to space as a 77-year-old U.S. senator.

Branson inaugurated his space tourism https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/virgin-galactics-branson-ready-space-launch-aboard-rocket-plane-2021-07-11 service on July 11, riding along on a suborbital flight with six others. SpaceX debuted its space tourism business https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/spacex-capsule-with-worlds-first-all-civilian-orbital-crew-set-splashdown-2021-09-18 by flying the first all-civilian crew to reach Earth's orbit in a three-day mission ending Sept. 18.

In his annual address to world leaders last month, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized "billionaires joyriding to space while millions go hungry on earth."

Asked about Shatner's flight, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday that Guterres "very much continues to believe what he said in the General Assembly."

'Profound experience': Star Trek's Shatner becomes world's oldest space traveler
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (2)
dar dar
dar dar Oct 13, 2021 11:56AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
congratulations bill
Jose Cabreja
Jose Cabreja Oct 13, 2021 10:12AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
A Real Actor to the Set.🤣🤣
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email