14 October, 2021

"You're looking into blackness, into black ugliness - And you look down, there's the blue down there - and the black up there - and it's just, there is Mother Earth." William Shatner marvels on his trip to the edge of space - the final frontier.

Getting his astronaut wings!
Perhaps most famous for being a starship captain, actor William Shatner has finally made it into space at the age of 90, the oldest person to blast off to space aboard a rocketship.   

Mr Shatner was one of four passengers on the journey to the edge of space for 10 minutes and 17 seconds aboard the white fully autonomous 60-foot-tall New Shepard spacecraft from Blue Origin. 

The capsule returned to the Texas desert from the suborbital flight under parachutes, kicking up a cloud of dust in what must have been a textbook landing. The veteran actor emerged a little gingerly and appeared to be in a deeply reflective mood following the experience. "What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine," he told Blue Origin's owner Jeff Bezos who was on hand to welcome the intrepid adventurers back to solid ground. "I am so filled with emotion about what just happened," Shatner said.

"I hope I never recover from this, I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it."

"You're looking into blackness, into black ugliness," Shatner said. "And you look down, there's the blue down there - and the black up there - and it's just, there is Mother Earth."

"This is life and that's death, and in an instant, you know - whoa - that's death," Shatner said. "That's what I saw."

The all-civilian crew experienced a few minutes of weightlessness, having travelled about 65.8 miles above the Earth's surface - higher than the internationally recognized boundary of space known as the Karman Line. 

"What was once the final frontier, is now the latest top tourist attraction for those with deep enough pockets to afford the trip, or have very rich friends to offer the opportunity for free. We have gone past the birth of space tourism, we have entered its infancy, the developments will now come thick and fast as this baby grows.  But, let's just hope that while it becomes more and more popular and available, going up to space doesn't diminish the after-effects of what an extraordinary trip it is, as demonstrated so well by Mr Shatner. While his fellow crewmembers were popping champagne corks and whooping for joy, he was marvelling at and contemplating the wonderful experience." Air101 editor Jason Shaw said. 

Watch the replay of the live stream below. 

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