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Blue Origin Crew with William Shatner
The famous "Captain Kirk" made his dream of reaching space come true. Photo: Blue Origin.

William Shatner: From Star Trek Fantasy to Blue Origin Reality

Blue Origin made history on Oct. 13 by taking the famous actor into space, thus becoming the oldest person to ever do so.

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"It's incredible, incredible!" exclaimed the famous Hollywood actor, William Shatner, as he descended from the capsule that brought him one of the most exciting experiences of his life.

Shatner, remembered by fans around the world as Captain James T. Kirk from the iconic science fiction series Star Trek, became the oldest person to travel to space at 90 years old aboard the capsule of Blue Origin, company of billionaire Jeff Bezos. Despite his nine decades of life, the actor, who traveled in the company of three other people, acknowledged that he felt like a child playing on a beach on the shores of an ocean of endless emotions.

This was the crew's 19th consecutive successful landing of the capsule (all flights in the program, including a platform escape test in 2012).

How the adventure was lived
  • The 10-minute mission took off from the Texas desert at 09:49 (CDT) and landed at 09:59. 
  • It lasted 10 minutes and 17 seconds. The maximum ascent speed achieved was 2,235 mph. 
  • Aboard the New Shepard capsule, the crew briefly experienced a period of weightlessness upon reaching the maximum altitude of 100 kilometers.
Who joined Shatner?

Joining "Captain Kirk" were Glen De Vries, executive of the French healthcare software company Dassault Systèms, Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of the satellite imagery company Planet, and Audrey Powers, the vice president of Blue Origin.

The four members of the second commercial trip to space from Blue Origin received special training to know what to do in cases of emergency, despite everything being completely automatic, and how to behave in a zero-gravity scenario.

Background

Before this second flight of the New Shepard, Bezos and his brother Mark had already traveled to space on July 20, as well as the pilot Wally Funk and Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen. Before Shatner's successful mission, the famous 82-year-old pilot had been the oldest person to accomplish the feat.

Controversy

The current media circuit comes amid a murky outlook for the Amazon owner's company, after some former employees claimed Blue Origin has a toxic work culture and that its security protocols are not appropriate.

For now, both Bezos and Powers, who is also responsible for mission and flight operations, have emphatically denied the allegations and say safety has always been their top priority.

Costs

While Blue Origin rival, Virgin Galactic, of fellow billionaire Richard Branson, has set the price of tickets for his space experience at $250,000, for now, Bezos does not disclose the fees paid by crew members who were not invited by him.

To learn more about this historic mission to space, click here.

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