William Shatner called it the astir profound acquisition of his life
"Star Trek" histrion William Shatner yet became a existent abstraction traveler connected Blue Origin's 2nd crewed ngo Wednesday, calling it the astir profound acquisition of his life.
"It was unbelievable," said the 90-year-old Canadian, known to the sci-fi show's legion of "Trekkies" arsenic the daring Captain James T. Kirk, a relation helium archetypal played much than fractional a period ago.
He was joined connected the 11-minute travel beyond Earth's ambiance and backmost again by 3 others: Blue Origin enforcement Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries of Medidata Solutions.
A New Shepard rocket took disconnected from the company's West Texas basal astir 9:49 americium (1449 GMT) aft experiencing 2 little delays, yet soaring to 66 miles (106 kilometers) supra oversea level.
Founder Jeff Bezos was connected manus to greet the unit members arsenic they climbed retired of the capsule, which parachute-landed successful desert, and were showered with applause and champagne.
Like the astir 600 astronauts who person gone earlier him, Shatner marveled astatine the acquisition of weightlessness and the stunning presumption of our satellite from space.
"What you person fixed maine is the astir profound acquisition I tin imagine. I'm truthful filled with emotion astir what conscionable happened," helium said, moved to tears.
"What you're looking down connected is Mother Earth, and it needs protecting," helium aboriginal told reporters.
The ngo was a replay of the company's maiden quality formation successful July, which included Bezos and was seen arsenic a breakthrough infinitesimal for the nascent abstraction tourism sector.
This clip around, each attraction was focused connected Shatner, who became the oldest-ever astronaut, contempt an quality suggesting a antheral decades younger.
The intergalactic voyages of the USS Enterprise, commanded by Shatner's quality Kirk, helped crook American attraction to the stars arsenic the US abstraction programme was starting out.
"Captain Kirk... represents 'the last frontier' possibly much than anyone other for a mates antithetic generations of people, successful the US and worldwide," screenwriter and Trek historiographer Marc Cushman told AFP.
Shatner, besides known for his relation arsenic lawyer Denny Crane successful "Boston Legal," among galore others, has spoken successful the past astir an at-times hard narration with Star Trek and its instrumentality culture.
But successful caller years, the histrion has leaned into the fame brought astir by his astir celebrated role.
"I'm overwhelmed by the response," said Shatner, erstwhile asked by AFP astir the outpouring of enactment helium has received from fans and the wider abstraction assemblage since the ngo was announced.
- Space tourism heating up -
For Blue Origin, meanwhile, a 2nd ngo successful little than 3 months represents different measurement guardant arsenic it tries to found itself arsenic abstraction tourism's starring player.
Boshuizen and Vries brought the company's full fig of paying customers to three, aft Dutch teen Oliver Daemen who was connected committee the archetypal flight.
Competition successful the assemblage is heating up.
Virgin Galactic, which offers a akin acquisition of a fewer minutes' weightlessness and a presumption of the Earth's curvature from the cosmos, launched its laminitis Richard Branson successful July, a fewer days earlier Bezos.
And successful September, SpaceX sent 4 backstage citizens connected a three-day travel whizzing astir the satellite -- an altogether much ambitious, but besides apt acold much costly endeavor.
For galore abstraction enthusiasts, Shatner's voyage was a fitting coda for a popular civilization improvement that inspired generations of astronauts, scientists and engineers.
The amusement has had a long-running relation with NASA, whose scientists were sent aboriginal scripts to vet their accuracy, according to Cushman.
"Those scientists, arsenic good arsenic astir everyone astatine those abstraction agencies, were avid Star Trek watchers, and they good understood that the popularity of the bid helped spark increasing involvement and backing for the abstraction program," helium said.
Another mega-fan: Bezos himself.
The Amazon laminitis shared an Instagram station of Star Trek artwork helium made erstwhile helium was 9 years old.
Bezos has said Amazon's Alexa dependable adjunct was inspired by the conversational machine connected the Enterprise, and helium adjacent made a cameo arsenic an alien successful the 2016 movie "Star Trek Beyond," sporting an egg-shaped head.
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