Emerging from New Shepard’s crew capsule, 90-year-old actor William Shatner told his host Jeff Bezos how deeply moved he was by his flight to the edge of space:
“What you have given me is the most profound experience I can announce. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I — I just — it’s extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I – I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than the me of life. It hasn’t got anything to do with the little green planet or the — it has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death…”
Jeff Bezos, the executive chairman of Amazon, is the founder of Blue Origin, the privately-owned orbital spaceflight technology business that developed New Shepard. Today was its second launch with human passengers. Shatner is best known for playing the spacefaring Captain Kirk in Star Trek on TV and in movies.
The AP story adds:
…Bezos is a huge “Star Trek” fan — the Amazon founder had a cameo as an alien in one of the later movies — and Shatner rode free as his invited guest.
As a favor to Bezos, Shatner took up into space some “Star Trek” tricorders and communicators — sort of the iPhones of the future — that Bezos made when he was a 9-year-old Trekkie. Bezos said his mother had saved them for 48 years….
Before the flight it was surprising that a 90-year-old could be expected to withstand the rigors of a rocket launch and return to earth, although the craft’s first crewed flight in July included 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk, one of the Mercury 13. Shatner said the return to Earth was more jolting than his training led him to expect and made him wonder whether he was going to make it back alive.
“Everything is much more powerful,” he said. “Bang, this thing hits. That wasn’t anything like the simulator. … Am I going to be able to survive the G-forces?”
Passengers are subjected to nearly 6 G’s, or six times the force of Earth’s gravity, as the capsule descends. Blue Origin said Shatner and the rest of the crew met all the medical and physical requirements, including the ability to hustle up and down several flights of steps at the launch tower.
- NBC’s video of Shatner speaking after exiting the capsule
- CNN’s video of the complete flight
All external – no inside views of the passengers. Includes great visuals of the rocket stage returning upright to the landing pad. Also shows the capsule parachuting back to earth.