“Star Trek” actor William Shatner finally became a true astronaut on Blue Origin’s second crew mission on Wednesday, calling it the deepest experience of his life.
“It was incredible,” said the 30-year-old Canadian.
He joined the 11-minute journey out of Earth’s atmosphere, and again three: Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers, Co-founder of Planet Labs Chris Basuigen and Glenn de Vries of Medidata Solutions.
A new Shepard rocket finally flew 66 miles (106 kilometers) above sea level after experiencing two brief delays at 49 minutes (1449 GMT) from the company’s West Texas base.
Founder Jeff Bezos went to greet the crew members as they came out of the capsule, which landed in the parachute-desert, and were showered with applause and champagne.
Like almost the ast00 astronauts who went before him, Shutter was amazed at the weightless experience and the stunning view of our world from space.
“What you’ve given me is the deepest experience I can imagine. I’m overwhelmed by what happened,” he said.
He later told reporters, “What you see is Mother Earth, and it needs protection.”
The mission was a replay of the company’s first human flight in July, which also included the Bezos, and was seen as a landmark moment for the new space tourism sector.
This time, all attention was focused on Shutter, who was the oldest astronaut, despite being a few decades younger.
The intergalactic voyage of the USS Enterprise, led by Shutter’s character Kirk, helped divert American attention to the stars as the U.S. space program began.
“Captain Kirk … represents the ‘ultimate frontier’ for people of different generations, in the United States and around the world.”
Shutter, who is also known for his role as lawyer Danny Crane in “Boston Legal,” has talked about, among many others, the difficult relationship between Star Trek and its fan culture in the past.
But in recent years, the actor has leaned towards fame through his most famous roles.
Asked by AFP about the support he has received from fans and the wider space community since the mission was announced, Shatner said: “I’m overwhelmed by the response.
– Space tourism is heating up –
For Blue Origin, meanwhile, a second mission in less than three months represents another step forward as it seeks to establish itself as a leading player in space tourism.
After Oliver Daiman, a Dutch teenager on the first flight, Boshuizen and Vris brought the total number of paying customers of the company to three.
Competition in the sector is increasing.
Virgin Galactic, which provides a similar experience of a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of the Earth’s curvature from the universe, was launched by its founder Richard Branson in July, a few days before the Bezos.
And in September, SpaceX sent four private citizens on a three-day trip revolving around the planet-a completely more ambitious, but perhaps much more expensive, effort.
For many space enthusiasts, Shutter’s voyage was a perfect code for a pop culture event that inspired a generation of astronauts, scientists and engineers.
According to Cushman, the show had a long association with NASA, whose scientists were sent a preliminary script to verify their accuracy.
“Those scientists, as well as almost everyone in that space agency, were interested Star Trek observers and they well understood that the popularity of the series had helped arouse growing interest and funding for the space program,” he said.
Another mega-fan: Bezos himself.
The Amazon founder shared an Instagram post of the Star Trek artwork when he was nine years old.
Bezos said the conversation at Amazon’s Alexa Voice assistant enterprise was computer-inspired and he made a cameo by playing an egg-shaped head as an alien in the 2016 film “Behind the Star Trek.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)