The Blue Origin NS-18 Mission flight carrying “Star Trek” actor William Shatner has concluded a successful flight and return. This means 90-year-old Shatner has now become the oldest person to have flown in space. The actor/musician was deeply moved by the experience and the profoundness of his brief spaceflight resonated in Shatner’s first words.
Shatner is riding alongside three others. Audrey Powers, the Vice President of New Shepard Mission & Flight Operations; Chris Boshuizen, who co-founded Planet Labs and is currently a partner at venture capital firm DCVC; and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of the clinical trial software company Medidata Solutions, and the Vice Chairman of life sciences and healthcare at Dassault Systèmes.
The New Shepard NS-18 flight took about 12 minutes. The flight saw the four-man crew swoop past the Kármán Line, the internationally-recognized boundary of space. As planned, the capsule then parachuted to the floor of the Texas desert.
Blue Origin’s Sarah Knight walked briskly towards the pod to check up on the astronauts and following closely, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos walked around the capsule giving thumbs-ups to Shatner and the rest of the crew. Friends and family of the NS-18 Mission crew soon began flocking out, while the recovery team continued to hammer away at the capsule to set up a small staircase against the body of the tightly sealed landing pod. Bezos climbed the assembled steps to open up the hatch. Audrey Powers stepped out, with William Shatner closely following, Chris and Glenn coming out last. The iconic actor who played Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise was very emotional after his record-setting trip to space and was overcome with emotion as he uttered his first words.
These were Shatner’s first words:
“Not only is it different than what you thought, it happened so quickly…Everybody in the world needs to see it…it’s unbelievable,” he said, overwhelmed with emotion. “You have done something…what you have given me is the most profound experience…I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this,” he said, embracing the Blue Origin founder. “What I would love to do is to communicate as much as possible…the moment you see the vulnerability of everything,” he said.
Bezos then awarded every member of the NS-18 mission crew a service brooch. “Okay guys, we have four astronauts before you,” he said, applauding them.
You can see the entire mission and Shatner’s first words in the New Shepard Mission NS-18 Webcast that was broadcast live above.