William Shatner, Captain Kirk on Star Trek, went into space with Blue Origin

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Actor William Shatner flew into space on Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin aircraft.

“It was incredible,” said the 90-year-old Canadian actor, who was moved to tears after spending 11 minutes in space.

The New Shepard rocket took off at 09:49 (14:49 GMT) after a two-day delay, rising 106 kilometers above sea level.

Shatner, Captain Kirk from the iconic “Star Trek” series, traveled with Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen of Australia, and Glen de Vries of health research platform Medidata Solutions.

The founder of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, he greeted the crew as they exited the capsule and were showered with applause and champagne.

Like the nearly 600 astronauts who traveled before him, Shatner He marveled at the experience of feeling weightlessness and the breathtaking view of Earth from space.

“You have given me the most profound experience you can imagine. I am very excited about what just happened,” he told Bezos., moved to tears.

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William Shatner after his return to earth.

“What you see below is Mother Earth, and it needs to be protected,” he later told reporters.

The mission replicated the maiden flight of Blue Origin in July, which featured Bezos himself and was seen as a watershed moment for the fledgling space tourism industry.

This time the focus was on Shatner, who became the oldest person to travel to space.

The intergalactic voyages of the “Enterprise”, the “Star Trek” ship commanded by the character played by Shatner, encouraged Americans to pay attention to the stars while NASA developed its space program in the 1960s.

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“Captain Kirk (…) represents, perhaps more than anyone, ‘the last frontier’ for several generations, in the United States and around the world,” the scriptwriter and historian of the series told AFP, Marc Cushman.

Shatner has said he had a sometimes difficult relationship with the cultural fanaticism that “Star Trek” spawned.

However, in recent years, the actor has given up on the fame that caused his most famous role.

“I am overwhelmed by the response,” Shatner replied to a question from AFP about the effusive support he has received from fans and the space community since the mission was announced.

For Blue Origin, meanwhile, the second mission in less than three months was another step in its bid to establish itself as a leader in space tourism.

Boshuizen and Vries increased the number of people who paid to travel to three, after Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, who was on the first flight.

Competition in space tourism is growing.

Offering a similar experience of a few minutes of weightlessness and the view of Earth from the cosmos, Virgin Galactic launched a spacecraft with founder Richard Branson in July, a few days before Bezos.

And, in September, SpaceX sent four people on a three-day trip around the planet, a much more ambitious endeavor, but also probably much more onerous.

For many space enthusiasts, Shatner’s trip was the icing on the cake for a pop culture phenomenon that inspired generations of astronauts, scientists, and engineers.

“Star Trek” had a long association with NASA, whose scientists received the first scripts to verify its accuracy, according to Cushman, the writer.

“Those scientists, as well as almost everyone in the space agencies, were avid observers of ‘Star Trek’ and well understood that the popularity of the series helped spark growing interest and funding for the space program,” he said.

One of his mega-fans is Jeff Bezos himself, founder of Amazon. He even posted on Instagram an artwork he made at age nine that featured a communication tool that influenced the design of a folding phone decades later.

Bezos has said that Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, is inspired by the conversational computer of the “Enterprise.” Additionally, he made a fleeting appearance in the 2016 movie “Star Trek Beyond.”

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