William Shatner Boldly Went Into Space This Morning. Here's What He Saw

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

William Shatner (R) gestures as Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen looks on during a press conference on the landing pad of Blue Origin’s New Shepard after they flew into space on October 13, 2021 near Van Horn, Texas. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Updated October 13, 2021 at 11:08 AM ET

Blue Origin's second human spaceflight has returned to Earth after taking a brief flight to the edge of space this morning.

Among the four passengers on board—there is no pilot—was William Shatner, the actor who first played the space-traveling Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise.

"The covering of blue. This sheet, this blanket, this comforter that we have around. We think, oh, that's blue sky," an emotional Shatner said after returning to Earth.

"Then suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, as though you're whipping a sheet off you when you're asleep, and you're looking into blackness, into black ugliness."

At age 90, Shatner is now the oldest person to fly into space.


"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," he said in a tweet after landing.

The rocket, New Shepard, took off around 9:50 a.m. CT from a launch site near Van Horn, Texas.

Joining Shatner on the flight was a Blue Origin employee and two paying customers.

Billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns Blue Origin, was on site for the launch and shook the hands of all four passengers as they boarded New Shepard. The rocket is named after American astronaut Alan Shepard.

The entire suborbital journey lasted about 10 minutes. On part of the trip the four passengers experienced weightlessness.

The capsule topped out at an apogee altitude of 351,000 feet (about 66 miles up). It then fell back to earth, landing under a canopy of parachutes in the west Texas desert.

William Shatner (and three other civilians) finally hurtling towards space, the final frontier. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Blue Origin launched its first human spaceflight in July, with Bezos and three others onboard.

Wednesday's flight came about two weeks after 21 current and former Blue Origin employees wrote an essay accusing top executives at the space company of fostering a toxic workplace that permits sexual harassment and sometimes compromises on safety. Blue Origin denied the allegations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.