William Shatner has become the oldest person ever to head into space.
The 90-year-old actor blasted off on Jeff Bezos's New Shepard NS-18 rocket alongside Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's Vice President of Mission and Flight Operation, and crew members Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries on Wednesday (Oct 13) from the company's Launch Site One in Van Horn, Texas.
At lift-off, Blue Origin launch commentator Jacki Cortese said: "Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to launch this rocket. Godspeed New Shepard."
The crew made it up to an altitude of around 66 miles (106 km) on the suborbital flight, and felt weightlessness.
But just a matter of minutes later, they began their descent and their capsule headed back down to Earth thanks to three parachutes.
The crew touched down in the desert at a speed of around 15mph (24 kmh).
It was later confirmed the astronauts were all okay following the flight, and a recovery team was sent in to get them out of the capsule.
Jeff opened the hatch first so they could disembark, and the billionaire shouted: "Welcome to Earth!"
On the landing site, Shatner told Bezos, "What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I'm so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just, it's extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it."
He added, "Everybody in the world needs to do this. It was unbelievable, unbelievable. ... To see the blue air cover go whip by and you're staring into blackness, that's the thing. The covering of blue, this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue that we have around us, we think, oh, that's blue sky, and then suddenly you shoot through it all as though you whip off a sheet when you're asleep, and you're looking into blackness.
"It's so, so much larger than me and life. It hasn't got anything to do with a little green planet, a blue orb, it has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my God."
FLYING HIGH: Video from inside the Blue Origin spacecraft shows William Shatner and the crew expressing amazement as they floated through the air and looked down on Earth from space. https://t.co/95JYKcU3HF pic.twitter.com/06niBWOJRa— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 13, 2021
Shatner — who is best known for playing iconic character Captain James T Kirk in sci-fi show Star Trek — was invited to fly to space as a guest of Blue Origin. He flew alongside three other crewmates: Australian entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen, microbiologist Glen de Vries and Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers.
Last week, Shatner admitted he was "terrified" about going up into space.
He said at the New York ComicCon: "I’m thinking, ‘I’m going up in a rocket and our best guess is it should be fine?” I’m terrified. I’m Captain Kirk, and I’m terrified.
"I’m not really terrified — yes I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold. I’m planning on putting my nose against the window [once I’m in space], and my only hope is I won’t see someone else looking back." — BANG SHOWBIZ
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos