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Captain Kirk, William Shatner, Officially Becomes Oldest Man In Space

by : Emily Brown on : 13 Oct 2021 15:51
Blue Origin

Star Trek actor William Shatner has officially become the oldest man to travel in space after he blasted off in Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard rocket. 

Shatner’s trip to space marks the second crewed flight for New Shepard, the rocket system developed by Amazon founder Bezos through his company Blue Origin.

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Bezos himself travelled on the first outing in July, when he was joined by his brother Mark, 82-year-old famed aviator Wally Funk and Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest person in space at 18 years old.

Watch the Blue Origin livestream of the launch below:

Funk broke the record for the oldest person to reach space after it was previously set by 77-year-old NASA astronaut John Glenn, but at the grand age of 90, Shatner has now shattered the record once again.

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The actor, who is known for his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, is joined onboard New Shepard by Blue Origin vice president Audrey Powers; Chris Boshuizen, who co-founded the Earth-imaging satellite company Planet; and Glen de Vries, an executive with a French healthcare software corporation named Dassault Systèmes.

During the flight, the passengers experience a short period of weightlessness as they reach a maximum altitude of just above 100km (60 miles), according to BBC News. The trip also allows Shatner and the rest of the crew to observe the curvature of the Earth through the capsule’s windows.

Shatner spoke of his desire to go to space in real life, rather than in the fictional world of Star Trek, saying: ‘There is this mystique of being in space and that much closer to the stars and being weightless. I shall be entranced by the view of space. I want to look at that orb and appreciate its beauty and its tenacity.’

Jeff Bezos (Alamy)Alamy
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The launch of New Shepard was delayed by 24 hours because of high winds at the launch site, but successfully managed to take off from Blue Origin’s facilities today, October 13.

Prior to taking off, Shatner described himself as being ‘thrilled and anxious and a little nervous and a little frightened about this whole new adventure,’ Sky News reports.

He continued: ‘But I’ve got to think that once it’s done, once I’ve been into space and seen the universe and seen our Earth and the contrast between that hostility and this warmth, and how important it is to keep the Earth alive so that we don’t wreck it, we human beings don’t wreck it, that contrast in all of that is so dramatic to me.’

The journey to space lasts just 10 minutes.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Film and TV, Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, Now, Space

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BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Star Trek star William Shatner ready to boldly go into space