Blue Origin blasts ‘Star Trek’ actor William Shatner to space

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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin successfully blasted William Shatner — the Canadian actor who famously played Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” TV series — to the edge of space Wednesday morning.

The sci-fi actor, 90, is officially the oldest person to have ever traveled to space — even topping the record set by Wally Funk, 82, earlier this year on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight.

“Everybody in the world. Everybody needs to see,” Shatner said through tears to Bezos after returning to the Earth.

“It’s just — there is Mother Earth, life and comfort down there and up there,” he said pointing up, “is it just death? I don’t know.”

“What you see is black and what you see down there is light.”

The flight was expected to last about 11 minutes.
The flight was expected to last about 11 minutes.
Blue Origin

“What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine — it’s extraordinary. I’m so filled with emotion,” added Shatner, who said the experience showed him how vulnerable the world is and affirmed the need to protect it.

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket launches  from its spaceport.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launches from its spaceport.
AP

Shatner — joined by fellow crew members Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries — climbed into the capsule shortly after 10 a.m. ET.

William Shatner, 90,  emerging from the Blue Origin mission that made him the oldest person to ever go to space.
William Shatner, 90, emerging from the Blue Origin mission that made him the oldest person to ever go to space.
Blue Origin

Bezos, dressed in the company’s blue astronaut uniform, closed the hatch to the capsule himself at 10:15 a.m.

The flight was initially due to launch at 10 a.m., but the countdown was placed on hold twice as the Blue Origin team readied the rocket. The company did not return The Post’s request for comment on what caused the delay.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launched the quartet into space just before 10:50 a.m. and the rocket climbed to a velocity of more than 2,100 miles per hour before the engine cut off.

Shuttle landing
William Shatner is now officially the oldest person to have ever traveled to space.

The spaceship climbed to an altitude of about 290,000 feet before the capsule separated from the booster. The capsule climbed to an altitude of more than 351,000 feet about four minutes after launch, passing the internationally recognized boundary of space, called the Karman Line, about 62 miles above Earth.

The crew spent a few minutes in zero gravity before falling back to Earth.

The capsule carrying the Blue Origin crew touches down.
The capsule carrying the Blue Origin crew touches down.
Blue Origin

While the capsule remained in space, the New Shepard rocket returned to Earth, landing itself upright on its launch pad in Van Horn, Texas.

Capsule landing
The capsule successfully landed just after 11 a.m.

And the crew-carrying capsule landed just after 11 a.m., with the capsule parachuting down to Earth. In all, the flight lasted just under 11 minutes.

Bezos welcomed the crew back to Earth and opened the door to the capsule.

Bezos and the crew popped champagne while Shatner looked on stoically.

“OK, guys, we have four astronauts before you,” Bezos declared.

Ahead of the launch, Blue Origin’s mission control read messages to the crew that were left by the passengers of the company’s first space launch.

“You lucky bastards,” Bezos’ brother Mark wrote to them. “The depth of my desire to fly again is hard to express.”

“Together, let’s cross new records and set new boundaries,” Funk wrote to them.

Blue Origin crew members, including William Shatner, ride to the launch pad.
Blue Origin crew members, including William Shatner, ride to the launch pad.
BLUE ORIGIN/AFP via Getty Images

Shatner agreed to bring some mementos from Bezos on the flight, the billionaire founder said in an Instagram post Tuesday evening.

Among them were paper toys that Bezos said he used to “play Star Trek” when he was 9 years old.

Shatner brought with him 'Star Trek' drawings Bezos made when he was a child.
Shatner brought with him ‘Star Trek’ drawings Bezos made when he was a child.
Jeff Bezos/Instagram

“Please don’t judge me for the artwork,” Bezos wrote. “Thank you, Bill!”

The launch, which was initially scheduled for Tuesday, was delayed by one day due to high winds.

New Shepard’s 18th mission, NS-18, will lift off on Wednesday, October 13, carrying four astronauts, Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, Audrey Powers, and William Shatner, to space and back.
It’s Blue Origin’s second flight to carry private citizens: Bezos, 57, first went up to space in July alongside his brother Mark Bezos and two others.
Blue Origin
New Shepard’s 18th mission, NS-18, will lift off on Wednesday, October 13, carrying four astronauts, Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, Audrey Powers, and William Shatner, to space and back.
“I shall be entranced by the view of space,” Shatner said in a video that Blue Origin posted online Tuesday.
Blue Origin
New Shepard rocket
This was the New Shepard rocket’s 18th mission.
Blue Origin

Wednesday’s launch comes amid a wave of interest from the public, billionaire entrepreneurs and investors as competition in the new-age space race heats up.

The latest launch comes amid a wave of interest from the public, billionaire entrepreneurs and investors as competition in the new-age space race heats up.

Chris Boshuizen (left), William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries will be aboard the New Shepard rocket.
Chris Boshuizen (from left), William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries will be aboard the New Shepard rocket.
Blue Origin via AP

This summer, Blue Origin rival Virgin Galactic shot its founder, Sir Richard Branson, into space just a week before Bezos took the trip.

And the excitement in the sector has given SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s net worth a boost, with his company now valued above $100 billion.

It’s Blue Origin’s second flight to carry a group of private astronauts to the edge of space with its New Shepard rocket.

Bezos, 57, first went up to space in July alongside his brother Mark Bezos, pioneering pilot Funk, and rich Dutch student Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest person to go to space at age 18.

The foursome reached heights of 66.5 miles above Earth on New Shepard and spent about 10 minutes off the ground.

Star Trek legend William Shatner holds up a message as he gets ready for his 11 minute journey into space on October 13, 2021.
“Star Trek” legend William Shatner holds up a message as he gets ready for his 11-minute journey into space on October 13, 2021.
Blue Origin/Mega

“I … want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this,” Bezos told reporters after returning from the trip.

“So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, very much. It’s very appreciated.”

A Blue Origin flight lasts a little over 10 minutes. The rocket soars just past the Karman Line and gives the crew a couple of minutes in microgravity before returning to Earth, touching down with the help of parachutes.

The company’s latest launch comes as it faces mounting problems. The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing safety concerns raised last month by a group of 21 current and former employees in an anonymous essay.

The letter alleged a toxic and sexist environment at Blue Origin and said that the majority of signatories would not feel safe riding the company’s rockets to space.

“Blue Origin has been lucky that nothing has happened so far,” one anonymous engineer who signed on to the letter is quoted as saying. The letter adds that “teams are stretched beyond reasonable limits.”

In response, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith did not admit any wrongdoing or apologize in an email to employees, instead assuring employees that the rocket maker has “no tolerance for discrimination or harassment.”





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