Life has officially imitated art as William Shatner made history by becoming the oldest person ever to go to space.
Captain Kirk and crew hopped on Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule Wednesday morning and successfully blasted off into space … never mind a couple of delays due to “vehicle readiness.” Shatner himself said he got more nervous with each delay.
The 90-year-old and the other 3 crew members experienced 4 minutes of weightlessness before the capsule ultimately parachuted and landed safely in the west Texas desert at exactly 9:59 AM CT. Shatner gave a thumbs up before exiting the capsule.
Jeff Bezos opened the hatch, poked his head inside the capsule and greeted the newest astronauts. Shatner was second to exit and he said “Wow” before hugging Bezos.
Shatner started describing his experience to Bezos but he was briefly interrupted when Bezos popped open a bottle of champagne. Shatner turned down the bubbly. He later became visibly emotional and poetically described the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
He said, “What you have given me is the most profound experience I could imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope I maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me, and life.” Shatner also urged Bezos to make this experience widely available … even if it means using 3D technology.
Shatner’s crew included Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen and software mogul Glen de Vries.
We got our first look of Shatner in the space suit moments before liftoff … and though the suit wasn’t as silky smooth as what he wore on the Enterprise all those years ago, he still looked pretty damn good. He’s seriously 90?!?!
Bezos drove the space travelers to the launch site in a Rivian electric pickup truck, Shatner was stuck with the middle seat, but didn’t seem to care.
Shatner became the oldest person to ever go up into space … beating out 82-year-old test pilot Wally Funk … who joined Bezos, his brother, Mark, and recent HS grad Oliver Daemen, when they took Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule up for its premiere launch in July.
As you’ll recall … that initial crew went up to space for about 15 minutes, reached an altitude of 66.5 miles, floated around for a bit in zero-gravity while playing with ping-pong balls … then came back down for safe landing.
Shatner’s civilian flight will be very similar, but our sources say the mission will be also filmed for a documentary. Any moment now we’ll have video of Shatner & co. inside the capsule.