On October 13th, 2021 at approximately 09:49 AM CST, William Shatner who is 90 years old, was launched into space. This launch made him the oldest man to go where so few have gone before. Shatner, along with three others were in a capsule that was piloted entirely from the ground with those on board just along for the ride.
It was reported that the capsule “eventually reached a top altitude of 351,185, a little more than 66.5 miles off the surface of the Earth. On descent, the craft created a loud sonic boom.” The capsule returned to Earth and touched down at approximately 09:59 AM CST, which made the flight from start to finish about ten minutes long.
William Shatner was positively glowing in praise of the experience. “Not only is it different from what you thought, it happens so quickly,” Shatner said once on the ground. “Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see this.” He got rather emotional when speaking to Bezos as well and said to him as he hugged the billionaire; “what you have given me is the most profound experience. I am overwhelmed.”
"Suddenly you're through the blue and into black"
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 13, 2021
So why was William Shatner asked to be part of any launch for Blue Origin? Back in 2011 Shatner was reportedly asked to be aboard the Galactic Virgin. He turned it down however when he found out he’d have to pay to be a passenger. He was quoted as saying “[Richard Branson] wanted me to go up and pay for it and I said: ‘Hey, you pay me and I’ll go up. I’ll risk my life for a large sum of money.’ But he didn’t pick me up on my offer.”
Blue Origin wrote out a press release that explained “Shatner’s career as an actor, director, producer, writer, recording artist, and horseman has spanned 60 years. He originated the role of “Captain James T. Kirk” in 1966 for the television series Star Trek. The series spawned a feature film franchise where he returned as Captain Kirk in seven of the Star Trek movies, one of which he directed. He has long wanted to travel to space and will become the oldest person to have flown to space.”
There is at least one more launch scheduled for 2021 for one of Blue Origin’s rockets and several more for 2022, even though the company is under review and investigation due to some essays and allegations of not only hostile work environments for women, but also for some safety concerns. Apparently, 21 former employees became concerned when “competing with other billionaires—and ‘making progress for Jeff’—seemed to take precedence over safety concerns that would have slowed down the schedule.” One of the former engineers went so far as to say that they would not get into any vehicle built by Blue Origin under the circumstances.
If you’d like to watch the launch, here’s a video that’s not two or three hours long below. (It’s about 12 minutes total)
If you do want to watch every single moment that is about two hours and forty-five minutes, (more power to you), here’s another video below.