William Shatner gets emotional after Blue Origin landing
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William Shatner made history on Wednesday when he became the oldest person to go to space at 90 years old. The actor famed for playing Captain Kirk has since revealed what the unique experience felt like for a person of his age.
Live on the Today Show yesterday, Shatner admitted the experience was both “humbling” and “overwhelming”.
He went on to explain: “Another factor of this whole thing is, I keep saying ‘Oh, yeah, no, I’m not 90. I ride horses!’”
“The whole physical experience of mounting that gantry, of getting into that chair, of being weightless and having five Gs and suddenly, as I’m coming down, I’m thinking ‘You know something, I’m 90 years old!’”
He also said that he was taken aback by the blackness of space, speaking about how he felt it represented death while the earth below him represented life.
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The Star Trek actor also described how the simulations he had been put through on earth in order for space travel could have never truly prepared him for the real deal.
“We had a simulator, they simulate what they say you’re going to feel and it doesn’t come anywhere near it,” he explained.
“[They say] ‘Here you’re going to be in weightlessness and you’ve got to grab a hold of something, don’t push too hard with your hands, just use your fingertips because you’ll bounce off the ceiling…’ [SIC]
“You can talk about weightlessness all you want but the feeling of weightlessness, the actual feeling of weightlessness is indescribable!”
The grandfather-of-five’s voyage broke the record set by aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, 82, who was one of four crew members to travel on Blue Origin’s inaugural flight.
The actor also admitted that hurtling into space was one of the few moments in his life that he really felt his age, as he was accompanied by a much younger team.
The crew on Blue Origin’s tourism and research rocket New Shepard NS-18 included Vice President of Mission and Flight operations Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and co-founder of Medidata Solutions Glen de Vries.
Shatner went into detail about how space travel affected him physically, admitting that he questioned if he could “endure” the mission.
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“First of all, your body doesn’t have any pressure, so suddenly your body is expanding,” he said.
“Secondly, you’re floating and I don’t want to turn somersaults, I don’t want to throw Skittles, I want to look out the window!”
“At 5 Gs, you’re pressed, the skin is going back and you’re thinking ‘Can I endure this? When will this end?’” he reflected.
“But it’s over in a moment because you hit this edge of air that’s around us; this 50-mile skin of air that causes the blue sky.”
Back in July billionaire and founder of Amazon reached an altitude of 66.5 miles on Blue Origin’s first ever space mission, even playing with a few ping pong balls in zero gravity for a few minutes during his flight.
The total flight time for their trips so far is surprisingly short, lasting only 10 minutes from lift-off to landing, as the rocket is designed to carry a capsule only just up past the US boundary of space.
These Blue Origin space trips could usher in a whole new era of space tourism, with Bezos claiming that his company has already sold almost $100 million worth of tickets to future passengers.
This year, Bezos faced criticism for spending billions on his space travel, but he fired back, insisting that Blue Origin was set up to “build a road to space” that would take pressure off terrestrial development.
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