Capt. Kirk was all smiles after his first trip into outer space.
“You’ve given me the most profound experience. I hope I never recover,” a thrilled William Shatner told Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos Wednesday morning after exiting the New Shepard capsule following the 10-minute suborbital flight.
“I hope that I can maintain what I feel now,” the “Star Trek” star said. “I don’t want to lose it.”
Watching the live broadcast of the remotely piloted flight, former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, who was an astronaut during the space shuttle missions, told CBS News, “Very few people don’t come back unchanged.”
Mr. Shatner rode with three other astronauts to go past the Karman line, the 62-mile-high boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, on the second crewed Blue Origin flight. As Mr. Shatner and his crewmates gazed at the curvature of their planet from space and briefly experienced weightlessness, the man best known as James T. Kirk became the oldest person in space.
He broke the record just set in July by Wally Funk, 85, in the first crewed Blue Origin flight.
The Blue Origin launch from Culberson County in Texas was delayed a bit, but around 8 a.m. Pacific time, the rocket blasted off, carrying Mr. Shatner and fellow crew members Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations; Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet Labs (today known as Planet); and Glen de Vries, co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a software company.
Then the capsule separated from the booster rocket, which, unlike those in the old Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, returned to Earth to be used again. Another difference is the Blue Origin capsule is obviously more comfortable than the Mercury capsule flown by Mr. Shepard at the start of the space program.
“This flight was another step forward in flying astronauts safely and often,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a news release. “It’s an incredible team, and we are just getting started.”
Blue Origin is planning one more crewed flight this year and several of them for next year, according to blueorigin.com.