William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the “Star Trek” series, went to Space this Wednesday aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
The 90-year-old actor and three other passengers took off at 10.49 am from the launch site in West Texas, USA, on a rocket from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company. This was the company’s second human spaceflight and took place three months after Bezos himself made the first trip.
Lasting just over 10 minutes, the vehicle, named after Alan Shepard, the first American to reach Space, rose to a height of over 106 kilometers, 6.5 kilometers beyond the Karman Line, the border widely recognized spacecraft that lies 100 kilometers above the Earth. Then the capsule descended with open parachutes and landed in the desert
“Everyone needs to do this,” the Canadian actor told Bezos when he returned to Earth, according to the BBC. “It was unbelievable.”
With this trip, Shatner became the oldest person to visit Space.
Historic year for space tourism
This launch is now part of a historic year, in which the number of private astronauts who reached space surpassed those sent by NASA, the beginning of a new dynamic that wants to open the Cosmos to the common people. This Wednesday’s flight is already the sixth this year.
Earlier this year, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic launched its space plane to the edge of Space twice – once in May with a pair of pilots, and the second time, in July, with Branson himself, three other passengers and two pilots. Less than two weeks later, Blue Origin took Bezos and three other people to the edge of Space.
Last month, Elon Musk’s SpaceX also flew the so-called “Inspiration4” mission, which carried a crew of four amateur astronauts into orbit, where they remained for three days inside the Dragon spacecraft.
Finally, earlier this month, actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko took off on a rocket to shoot a film aboard the International Space Station.
By the end of the year, three more space flights with amateur autonauts are planned – one by Virgin Galactic, another by Blue Origin and a third by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who plans to fly the Russian Soyuz to the space station.