CAPTAIN Kirk has boldly gone where no Starfleet captain has before – at least in real life.
William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek, flew to the edge of space on Wednesday on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket.
Read our William Shatner Blue Origin live blog for live updates
William Shatner has launched to space aboard a Blue Origin rocket[/caption]
The New Shepard spacecraft blasts into the air above West Texas on Wednesday[/caption]
Shatner emerges from the capsule after landing in the Texas desert[/caption]
Captain Kirk chats with Jeff Bezos after his first REAL space trip[/caption]
The 90-year-old became the world’s oldest astronaut during the ten-minute flight with three other crew members from West Texas.
The trip aboard a willy-shaped rocket called New Shepard was scheduled for 2:30pm UK time (9:30am EST).
Liftoff was pushed back several times for unspecified reasons. The rocket’s boosters eventually lit up at 3:50pm UK time.
The spacecraft was built by Blue Origin — the space company founded by Star Trek fan Bezos, the world’s richest man.
The trip lasted just 10 minutes, with the fully automated capsule reaching a maximum altitude of about 66 miles (106 kilometers).
That’s just enough to pass the Karman Line, the internationally recognised boundary of space at 62 miles above Earth.
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After giving passengers a couple of minutes of weightlessness, the spacecraft then parachuted back to the desert below.
Speaking to Bezos after the capsule touched down safely, Shatner, who famously said “to boldly go where no man has gone before” at the start of each Star Trek episode, appeared to be on the verge of tears.
He said: “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I am so filled with emotion about what just happened.
“Everybody in the world needs to do this… It’s extraordinary, extraordinary.”
Amazon founder Bezos, 57, was launched into space on it in July — but the trip was ridiculed as his vessel resembled a giant penis.
Today’s trip marked Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Bezos used for his own space jaunt.
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson kicked off the U.S.-based space tourism boom on July 11, riding his own rocketship to space.
Bezos followed nine days later aboard his own capsule.
Elon Musk stayed behind as his SpaceX company launched its first private flight last month, sending a billionaire, cancer survivor and two ticket winners into orbit.
And last week, the Russians sent an actor and film director to the International Space Station for movie-making.
“We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning,” Shatner said in a Blue Origin video posted on the eve of his flight.
“It looks like there’s a great deal of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space. So lets go along with it and enjoy the ride.”
Rounding out the crew: a Blue Origin vice president and two entrepreneurs who bid unsuccessfully for a seat on the previous flight with Bezos, the founder of Amazon.
Blue Origin did not divulge their ticket prices.
Bezos was at the expansive launch and landing site near Van Horn, Texas, to see the four off.
Shatner is reportedly making a documentary about his journey into space.
The Emmy and Golden Globe winner, also a writer, director and singer, has enjoyed a 60-year career in Hollywood.
Shatner first starred as Captain Kirk in Star Trek in 1966 alongside Leonard Nimoy as his Vulcan sidekick Spock.
The show — following the interstellar adventures of the Starship Enterprise — catapulted Shatner into superstardom before its cancellation in 1969.
He returned to star in seven of the subsequent movies, starting in 1979 with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Blue Origin’s rocket first flew off on July 20 with Bezos, his brother Mark, 51, Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, 18, and former test pilot Wally Funk, 82.
They were propelled 66 miles above the earth in a ten-minute, ten-second trip. At the time, Funk became the oldest person to fly into space.
Broadcaster Dan Katz said: “Congrats to Jeff Bezos on his successful rocket launch. And also for totally not overcompensating for something.”
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket on the launchpad in West Texas ahead of liftoff[/caption]
Shatner climbed aboard the New Shepard rocket from Blue Origin — the space company founded by Bezos, the world’s richest man[/caption]
Blue Origin is owned by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos[/caption]
Shatner famously said ‘to boldly go where no man has gone before’ at the start of each episode[/caption]
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