by Jeff Foust — October 13, 2021 Blue Origin’s New Shepard lifts off Oct. 134 on the NS-18 mission, the second flight of the vehicle to carry people. Credit: Blue Origin webcast
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Blue Origin launched Star Trek actor William Shatner and three others into space on a brief suborbital flight Oct. 13, the second crewed flight of the company’s New Shepard vehicle.
New Shepard lifted off from the company’s Launch Site One in West Texas at 10:49 a.m. Eastern. The vehicle reached an estimated peak altitude of 107 kilometers before the crew capsule, RSS First Step, landed 10 minutes and 15 seconds after liftoff. The booster landed under rocket power about three minutes earlier.
The vehicle carried four people, headlined by Shatner, best known for his role as James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek television series and later movies. At 90, Shatner is now the oldest person to fly to space, breaking the record set by 82-year-old Wally Funk on the first crewed New Shepard flight July 20.
Shatner was exuberant after his flight, offering a long description of his experience to Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos during the company’s webcast. “I hope I never recover from this. I hope I maintain what I feel now,” he said. “Everybody in the world needs to do this.”
Shatner is not paying for his seat, but two others are paying undisclosed amounts to be on the flight. Chris Boshuizen is a co-founder of Earth observation company Planet and a partner at investment firm DCVC. He became the third Australian to go to space. Glen de Vries is co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a clinical research company, and became vice chair of life sciences and healthcare at Dassault Systèmes when it acquired Medidata in 2019.