Star Trek icon William Shatner, 90, overcome with emotion after landing safely back to Earth after becoming oldest person in space: ‘It was the most profound experience’

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Star Trek icon William Shatner was overcome with emotion as he landed on Earth, following his monumental flight into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

He had earlier been blast into space on New Shepard alongside astronauts, Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries and Audrey Powers on a suborbital flight. They were joined by Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos who was there to open the hatch as they landed on Earth.

Lost for words, the actor appeared to tear up as he described the vast nothingness of space.

He said: ‘The little things, weightlessness, but to see the blue colour whip by. And now you’re staring at the blackness. That’s the thing, the covering of blue…this comforter of blue we have around us.

‘Then the sudden you shoot through it all, you whip off the sheet and you’re looking at the black ugliness.

‘There is Mother Earth, comfort, and there is, is that death? I dont know? Is that the way death is?

‘Whip and it’s gone!’

He went on: ‘This experience is something unbelievable.

The star rang the bell as he approached the rocket (Picture: Reuters)

‘My stomach went up, this is so weird. But not as weird, as the covering of blue.’

Shatner called it the ‘most profound experience I can imagine’.

Wiping his eyes, he said: ‘I’m so filled with emotion, it’s extraordinary.

‘I hope I never recover from this.

‘Maintain what I feel now, I never want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life.’

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The New Shepard rocket launches.
New Shepard took off after a day’s delay (Picture: AFP)

Originally set to take off at 3pm BST (around 9am local time), Shatner’s flight eventually took off around 3.50pm BST, and saw him become the oldest person to head to space.

Before the flight, which took off from the Texas desert, Shatner was seen ringing the bell as he walked onto the gantry before being strapped into the rocket alongside his crew.

From T-minus two minutes, the rocket took control of itself autonomously and the gantry retracted, with the engines engaging and blasting the craft towards the atmosphere.

They hit zero-G and space at 351,000 feet altitude, in which they experienced several minutes of weightlessness as well as a spectacular view of our planet.

As the crew communicated with mission control they were good to go, Shatner was seen being closed into the aircraft by Bezos, who was on hand to see off the second human flight for the rocket.

Blue Origin New Shepard Mission NS-18 Webcast
The crew experienced several minutes of weightlessness (Picture: Blue Origin New Shepard Mission NS-18 Webcast)

Mark Bezos, the Amazon billionaire’s brother who flew on the first human flight of New Shepard, told the crew as they prepared to take off: ‘You lucky bastards. It was only 10 weeks ago that I was sitting where you are, watching the countdown clock full of anticipation and excitement. Eager to feel a rumble of liftoff and the magesty of weightlessness.

‘The depth of my desire to fly again is hard to express.’

He then quoted Shatner’s Mr Spaceman: ‘Hey, Mr Spaceman, won’t you please take me along, I won’t do anything wrong. Hey, Mr Spaceman, won’t you please take me along for a ride.’

William was seen being driven to the rocket (Picture: AFP)

William Shatner on Blue Origin.
Bezos was on hand to see off the astronauts (Picture: Blue Origin)

Bezos added: ‘God speed, New Shepard, I can’t wait to hear your stories. Mark.’

After a little more than 10 minutes, New Shepard’s capsule holding the crew touched down back on Earth.

Bezos was on hand to open the hatch, as he gave the crew a big double thumbs up outside the pod’s windows, while friends and family whooped and cheered as they welcomed the returned astronauts.

Shatner was second to leave the hatch, embracing Bezos on the steps down.

The flight was scheduled to take off on October 12, but was pushed back a day.

A statement said: ‘Due to forecasted winds on Tuesday 12 October, Blue Origin’s mission operations team has made the decision to delay the launch of NS-18 and is now targeting Wednesday 13 October.’

Ahead of today’s flight, Shatner and his fellow crew members posed in their astronaut suits, as they prepared for Wednesday’s big launch.

He was also pictured being shown the spacecraft, undergoing training, and sharing a message about the epic journey on a postcard as he took part in Blue Origin’s Club for the Future program for aspiring astronauts.

William’s handwritten message read: ‘This is the most important and practical concept for space use and for aiding in saving planet Earth.’

He previously admitted he was feeling a ‘fire of terror’ ahead of the flight.

Shatner jokingly added at a New York Comic Con panel: ‘I’m terrified. I’m Captain Kirk, and I’m terrified going to space. You know, I’m not really terrified. Yes I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold.’ 

He followed the likes of billionaires Richard Branson and Bezos, who both recently completed trips into space on their respective ships.

MORE : William Shatner insists he doesn’t ‘feel or look 90’ as he prepares to become the oldest person to go into space

MORE : New Shepard: What is the rocket that will carry William Shatner to space?

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