13 October 2021
William Shatner has become the oldest person ever to head into space.
The 90-year-old actor blasted off on Jeff Bezos’s New Shepard NS-18 rocket alongside Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission and Flight Operation, and crew members Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries on Wednesday (13.10.21) from the company’s Launch Site One in Van Horn, Texas.
At lift off, Blue Origin launch commentator Jacki Cortese said: “Ladies and gentleman, it is time to launch this rocket. Godspeed New Shepard.”
The crew made it up to an altitude of around 66 miles on the suborbital flight, and felt weightlessness.
But just a matter of minutes later, they began their descent and their capsule headed back down to Earth thanks to three parachutes.
The crew touched down in the desert at a speed of around 15mph.
It was later confirmed the astronauts were all OK following the flight, and a recovery team was sent in to get them out of the capsule.
Jeff opened the hatch first so they could disembark, and the billionaire shouted: “Welcome to Earth!”
Last week, William – who is best known for playing iconic character Captain James T. Kirk in sci-fi show ‘Star Trek’ – admitted he was “terrified” about going up into space.
He said: “I’m thinking, ‘I’m going up in a rocket and our best guess is it should be fine?” I’m terrified. I’m Captain Kirk, and I’m terrified.
“I’m not really terrified – yes I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold. I’m planning on putting my nose against the window [once I’m in space], and my only hope is I won’t see someone else looking back.”