More than fifty years after commanding the USS Enterprise in a television studio, William Shatner, Captain Kirk of Star Trek, had his revenge at age 90 and traveled into space on a new mission from the Blue Origin company, pioneer in space tourism.
“I never imagined that, it is beautiful, it is soft, it is pure blue, what you see below is light and what you see above is total darkness, it is the most profound experience I had, I do not think I can recover,” Shatner said yesterday when he returned to Earth and covered his face with his hands to cry. Beside him, Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, hugged him.
The images were broadcast live on the channel that the company has on YouTube. There, the small capsule could be seen landing in the middle of the Texas desert with its four crew members in perfect condition and after a journey that lasted 10 minutes and 18 seconds.
“Everything is so small, it is so impossible to measure how small it is,” continued the actor, dressed in the blue suit of Blue Origin, with the account of what he could see from space. Around him, the rest of the crew and crew were yelling and uncorking champagne, but he kept trying to find the exact words to describe what he had just seen.
This was the second flight of the New Shepard rocket, a spacecraft that does not require carrying professional astronauts on board and is also reusable, the company reported. Thus, at 11:49, Argentine time and 50 minutes later than expected, the New Shepard left until the capsule with the four crew members was left in outer space. Seven minutes later he landed again in the same place and in the same way from which he had started.
The first of the trips was made by Blue Origin owner himself, billionaire Jeff Bezos, last July.
This time, the one who got on the ship was none other than the iconic Captain Kirk, who commanded the Enterprise and together with Mr. Spock, starred in the three seasons that Star Trek lasted – known in Argentina as Star Trek – and still today, 55 years after its first broadcast, it continues to generate fans.
“This is just the beginning, but how miraculous the beginning is,” Shatner said in a video released by Blue Origin. “I will be surprised to see the space. I want to look at the globe and appreciate its beauty and toughness, “added the actor, who since yesterday is the oldest person to fly into space.
Along with him traveled Chris Boshuizen -former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, a company dedicated to obtaining images of the Earth-, Glen de Vries -co-founder of a research company for the pharmaceutical industry, Medidata Solutions- and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin manager and in charge of rocket maintenance.
His objective, accomplished, was to cross the Karman line, which separates the Earth’s atmosphere from outer space, and travel about 100 more kilometers. There they had four minutes of zero gravity before returning to Earth.
The flight, which departed from the launch pad located in West Texas, United States, was scheduled for Sunday but had to be canceled due to strong winds, according to Blue Origin in a statement.
With the addition of Shatner to the crew, Jeff Bezos decided to bet again on the race to conquer space tourism, a competition he maintains with Virgin Galactic, by Richard Branson, and Space X, by Elon Musk, the only one of the three. that so far made his space flights last longer than a few minutes as his Inspiration4 circled the Earth for three days.
It was Bezos himself who, also dressed in a blue suit, accompanied the crew to the door of New Shepard. And Bezos himself waited for them to open the hatch of the capsule when they returned in the middle of the desert.
According to the information released by Blue Origin, the official launch time occurred at 11:49 in Argentina and the capsule landed at 9:59 a.m., completing a journey of 10 minutes and 17 seconds exactly, in which the mission reached a speed of 3,597 kilometers per hour.
This was the 19th trip that the program makes with which Bezos seeks to conquer space tourism, and the second with a non-professional crew. In that first trip that had Bezos and his brother Mark as protagonists, another of the four crew members was Wally Funk, who at the age of 82 completed his dream of reaching space, a possibility that NASA decided to cut off when he decided to suspend a program to train the first female astronauts.
Shatner’s presence gave him a boost in Bezos’s goal of promoting space tourism, something that, of course, for now only moves between billionaires or special guests.