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Star Trek actor William Shatner becomes oldest person to reach space

Written by on 13/10/2021

Star Trek actor William Shatner has become the oldest person to reach space.

The 90-year-old blasted off from Texas at 3.50pm UK time on a Blue Origin rocket – the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, is spending several minutes in a suborbital flight alongside three others.

Before the launch, Shatner admitted he was a “little frightened”.

Live – Shatner blasts to edge of space on Amazon founder’s rocket

This undated photo made available by Blue Origin in October 2021 shows, from left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. (Blue Origin via AP)
Image: From left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. Pic: AP

The 18-metre New Shepard rocket sent the quartet above the internationally-recognised boundary of space known as the Karman Line, about 62 miles (100km) up.

Shatner experienced a few minutes of weightlessness in his space trip before parachutes delivered the capsule back to Earth.

More on Blue Origin

The others on the flight are NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, clinical research entrepreneur Glen de Vries and Blue Origin vice president and engineer Audrey Powers

Blue Origin’s reusable rocket system is called New Shepard, named after the Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard who was the first American to go into space.

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket launches carrying passengers Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Image: Blue Origin made its maiden space tourism flight with Bezos and others on board on 20 July

The company aims to attract paying customers in future and had its maiden space tourism flight on 20 July, when Bezos and three others flew to the edge of space.

Other billionaires are also competing in the space race, notably Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

 Sky News

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