On Wednesday, Blue Origin launched Star Trek alum William Shatner into space. The actor, along with three crewmates, headed skyward at 10:49 am aboard the New Shepard rocket, which took off with a max velocity of 2,235 mph from the company’s Texas launch site. In a matter of 10 minutes and 17 seconds, the capsule crossed the Kármán line—also known as the edge of space, at 62 miles above the Earth. The booster eventually reached an apogee of 347,160 feet above the planet, according to the manufacturer. And before returning safely, the passengers enjoyed weightlessness for three minutes while gazing at extraordinary views of the globe below.
According to CNN, there were multiple holds before liftoff that made Shatner—now the oldest person to have traveled to space—a little worried. The actor spoke about the delays the morning of the flight with Jeff Bezos on the company’s livestream, where it became clear he had more than nerves on his mind. “Am I going to be able to survive the G forces?” Shatner questioned. “Am I going to survive it? Then I think, ‘Good lord, getting up the bloody gantry.’ Oh my God, what an experience.”
Bezos, a known Star Trek fan, offered the Canadian actor the opportunity to fly as a comped guest following his own space journey aboard the same rocket, back in July. Shatner was accompanied on the capsule by Audrey Powers, vice president of New Shepard Operations. Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of satellite company Planet Labs and Glen de Vries, co-founder of Medidata Solutions also joined the flight after paying for their seats onboard. As all four passengers floated around the cabin at the peak of the flight, Shatner’s commentary details the experience plainly. “Weightlessness… oh Jesus,” he says. “No description can equal this.”
On its return, the capsule deployed parachutes to slow its decent. It touched down at 10:59 am near the Texas launch site. Founder Jeff Bezos opened the capsule’s hatch and reportedly said, “Hello astronauts, welcome to Earth.” He then proceeded to give Shatner and the rest of the passengers flight wings from the company (not official wings from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Astronaut Wings Program).
In his own words, the brief trip left the former Captain Kirk “overwhelmed.” “Everybody in the world needs to do this,” Shatner stated after exiting the capsule back on home ground. “To see the blue color whip by you, and now you’re staring into blackness, that’s the thing,” he exclaimed. The actor even referred to the Earth’s sky—when looking down from above—as a “comforter that we have around us.” In a final statement, he goes on to say, “It was so moving; this experience. It was something unbelievable.”