James Tiberius Kirk finally went into actual space, rather than just on TV, yesterday. He did this despite being 90 years old. Actor William Shatner got to become the oldest astronaut in history as he was one of four passengers onboard a Blue Origin rocket.
The rocket system is developed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, providing space tourists with a trip that lasted about 10 minutes. The capsule safely landed just after 10:00 local time (16:00 BST). This was after they rocketed to an altitude of about 65 miles (over 100km) above the Earth and got to experience weightlessness while being able to see the curvature of the Earth.
You can see footage from inside their capsule as they experienced weightlessness on the Blue Origin Twitter feed.
This was the voyage of the RSS First Step today. Its mission: encounter Earth from incredible views at apogee pic.twitter.com/Gzsnkv97K9
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 13, 2021
Upon returning to Earth, a clearly emotional Shatner was full of praise for the experience, highlighting how thin you understand the Earth’s atmosphere, that gives us life, is when you see it from up there. He said:
“Everybody in the world needs to do this. It was unbelievable.”
In tears at times after what he had just experienced, he added:
“What you have given me is the most profound experience. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I hope I never recover from this. I hope I can retain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it.”
"Suddenly you're through the blue and into black"
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 13, 2021
Blue Origin is developing a variety of technologies, with a focus on rocket-powered vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) vehicles for access to suborbital and orbital space.
Initially focused on suborbital spaceflight, the company has designed, built, and flown multiple testbeds of its New Shepard vehicle at its facilities in Culberson County, Texas.
They currently employ over 3,500 people and Bezos has invested over US$500 million of his own money into Blue Origin while also selling over $1billion of Amazon stock to finance the company.
There are unconfirmed reports coming in that there was an uncontrollable explosion of rage detected in an all-male San Francisco sauna at exactly the same moment that apogee was achieved by the capsule.