Space tourism steaming up fast, William Shatner becomes oldest man in space
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Space tourism steaming up fast, William Shatner becomes oldest man in space

Romar Fernando

October 27, 2021

  • Canadian and former American science fiction Star Trek actor William Shatner has become the oldest human in space at the age of 90, October 12, Tuesday.

    Shatner was overwhelmed of the experience of a brief but successful second crewed flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket ship from the west Texas desert. He broke down in tears at the landing site after his 11-minute leap to the stars with the reach higher than about 66 miles or 106 kilometers.

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    Photo Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

    The flight was named ‘Mission NS-18,’ which is the 18th flight of the capsule named for Alan Shepard, the first American in space in 1961.

    The Guardian narrated the flight in full details. After separation from its booster rocket, the New Shepard capsule reached a maximum altitude of 66.5 miles, beyond the 100km (62-mile) Kármán Line recognized internationally as the boundary of space, giving the crew three to four minutes of weightlessness.

    After reentering the atmosphere, the capsule fell back to earth and made a gentle touchdown guided by three parachutes almost 10 minutes and 30 seconds after lift-off. New Shepard’s reusable booster landed again safely after almost eight minutes in flight.

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    Photo Credit: AFP via Getty Images

    “I hope I never recover from this. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary, extraordinary. It’s so much larger than me and life. It hasn’t got anything to do with the little green men and the blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death,” he said.

    “To see the blue color whip by you, and now you’re staring into blackness … everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see this,” Shatner added.

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    Photo Credits: Mike Blake / Reuters

    Jeff Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, commissioned the space trip and invited the Star Trek actor to fly as its guest. As founder of Amazon, Bezos was a huge fan of the sci-fi series and even had a cameo as a high-ranking alien in the 2016 film entitled, ‘Star Trek Beyond.’

    Alongside with Shatner in the capsule was a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engineer who founded a nanosatellite company and the co-founder of a software company. Another seat was provided for the Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, who worked for NASA as a space station flight controller.

     

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    Photo Credit: LM Otero / AP

    Shatner has surpassed Wally Funk, an 82-year-old former test pilot who flew with Bezos, as the oldest space traveler.

    These kinds of flights, whether it is short or long, aim to promote and pick up for space tourism.

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