October 13, 2021
Shatner, aged 90, overtook 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk to become the oldest person in space. Funk also flew aboard a Blue Origin rocket, accompanied by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in July.
Before launch on Wednesday, Shatner said, “There is this mystique of being in space and that much closer to the stars and being weightless.”
“I shall be entranced by the view of space,” he added. “I want to look at that orb and appreciate its beauty and its tenacity.”
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now & then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.🚀 pic.twitter.com/ZY2Ka8ij7z
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) October 13, 2021
Blue Origin Vice President Audrey Powers and two businessmen, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata Solutions co-founder Glen de Vries, accompanied Shatner on the trip.
Shatner played ‘Star Trek’ character Captain James T. Kirk in the 1960s original series, and soon became a science-fiction icon. He has continued to work in his old age, and currently hosts a science show ‘I Don’t Understand,’ airing on RT America.
In 2014, NASA honored Shatner with its Distinguished Public Service medal – the most prestigious available for non-government workers – for encouraging young people to study science and “inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today.”
The US space agency wished Shatner well for his space flight in a tweet on Wednesday, referencing a line of dialogue from 1982’s ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.’
🖖 @WilliamShatner We wish you all the best on your flight to space.
You are, and always shall be, our friend. https://t.co/5nmXfvMydU pic.twitter.com/oL65h3y9Hi
— NASA (@NASA) October 13, 2021
Former Ohio Senator John Glenn, the previous oldest person in space before Shatner and Funk, retains the age record for someone visiting orbital space. Glenn spent nearly 10 days in orbit in October 1998 as part of a NASA Space Shuttle mission. In comparison, Shatner and Funk’s suborbital flights lasted just 10 minutes.