After weather caused him to delay his trip to space by a day, the ‘Star Trek’ actor, who played Captain James Kirk, finally lifted off into space with Blue Origin.
After a slight meteorological-related delay, William Shatner finally went to space on Wednesday October 13! The 90-year-old Star Trek alum went into space on a flight from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin from Texas. William is now the oldest person to go to space, surpassing aviator Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, who became the record holder when she flew to space with the Amazon founder in July at 82-years-old.
The Star Trek star’s flight was broadcast live on the Blue Origin YouTube Channel. In a pre-recorded interview shown before taking off, William showed how excited he was to take off. “There’s this mystique of being in space and being closer to the stars and being weightless,” he said. “I want to look at that orb and appreciate its beauty and tenacity.”
The actor, who rose to stardom for playing Captain James Kirk on the iconic sci-fi series Star Trek, was announced as one of the passengers on the latest Blue Origin flight in a tweet on October 4, along with the company’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers. William played Captain Kirk in the original TV series from 1966 to 1969, and reprised the role in plenty of Star Trek movies from the 1979 original film to 1994’s Star Trek Generations.
As the ship arrived in space, William tweeted out a quote by the scientist Isaac Newton, who was a revolutionary physicist from 15th and 16th century. The tweet also had the Starfleet insignia with a feather in the center. “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now & then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me,” the quote read.
As they touched back down, Jeff Bezos opened the pod for all the newly-minted astronauts to come out. After emerging from the pod, William gave the Amazon founder a big hug and spoke to him about the experience and seemed to get emotional. The Star Trek star gave a moving speech upon his arrival. “It was unbelievable,” he said. “To see the blue color go right by you, and then you’re staring at blackness, that’s the thing… It was so moving.” He spoke about the contrast between seeing the life on earth and the void of space, via CNN. “It hasn’t got anything to do with the little green men and the blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death,” he said.
In his speech, William spoke about how incredible the experience was. “The impression I had that I never expected is the shooting up and it’s blue sky… Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world—unbelievable,” he said. “I hope I never recover from this. I am so filled with emotion.” He also thanked the Amazon founder for giving him the opportunity. “What you [Jeff Bezos] have given me is the most profound that I can ever imagine,” he said.
Ahead of the flight, William showed his excitement to go to space for real in a tweet. “I’m going to be a ‘rocket man!’” he wrote after the flight was announced. Other than Audrey and William, Planetary Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries were also aboard the flight, via New York Times.
The Blue Origin flight was originally supposed to take off on Tuesday October 12, but it was pushed back a day because of weather. “As part of today’s Flight Readiness Review, the mission operations team confirmed the vehicle has met all mission requirements and astronauts began their training today,” the company said in a statement via NBC News. “Weather is the only gating factor for the launch window.”
Even though William was excited to go, he did open up about some of his nervousness and excitement in an interview with Today shortly after his flight was announced. “I’m thrilled and anxious and a little nervous and a little frightened about this whole new adventure, 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—so that we human beings don’t wreck it—that contrast in all of that is so dramatic to me,” he said at the time.