Star Trek's William Shatner makes history as oldest man in space

The actor, 90, reached the final frontier on Wednesday, delighting the millions of sci-fi fans who know him as Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise

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Star Trek’s William Shatner has made history as the oldest person in space after blasting off from the Texas desert in a rocket built by Jeff Bezos’s company.

The actor, 90, reached the final frontier on Wednesday, delighting the millions of sci-fi fans who know him as Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise.

Billionaire Amazon founder Mr Bezos was behind Shatner’s trip to the stars through his Blue Origin space travel company.

Shatner and three other passengers lifted off in the fully automated, 60ft tall New Shepard rocket from Van Horn, west Texas, slightly later than planned in order to give experts more time to monitor winds in the area.

Blue Origin's rocket New Shepard blasts off carrying Star Trek actor William Shatner, 90, on billionaire Jeff Bezos's company's second suborbital tourism flight as part of a four-person crew near Van Horn, Texas, U.S., October 13, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Blue Origin's rocket New Shepard blasts off carrying Star Trek actor William Shatner, 90, on billionaire Jeff Bezos's company's second suborbital tourism flight as part of a four-person crew near Van Horn, Texas, U.S., October 13, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

According to a live stream of the historic event, Shatner and his fellow passengers reached an altitude of roughly 350,000ft and a velocity of about 2,000mph.

The actor and those on board experienced weightlessness as they reached the fringes of space.

After a trip lasting about 10 minutes, the capsule fell back to Earth with the aid of a parachute.

Shatner and his crewmates, dressed in their striking blue flight suits, rang a silver bell before being strapped into the capsule, with Mr Bezos closing the door behind them.

William Shatner disembarking from the Blue Origin spacecraft after being shot off into space.
William Shatner disembarking from the Blue Origin spacecraft after being shot off into space.

They were not required to wear helmets, with Blue Origin saying it wanted its passengers to have an unencumbered view of space.

Shatner is best known for playing the indomitable Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise.

He appeared in the original TV series in the 1960s and later starred in a series of films and remains inextricably tied to the character in the public imagination.

Shatner is now the oldest person to ever travel to space, breaking the record set in July by 82-year-old Wally Funk.