James T. Kirk has once again made it to space.
However, this time it was not on his iconic starship, the USS Enterprise, but rather on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, marking the second successful crewed spaceflight by Jeff Bezos’ company to date. The crew consisted of William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on “Star Trek,” VP of New Shepard Mission and Flight Operations Audrey Powers, co-founder of Planet Labs and current partner at venture capital firm DCVC Chris Boshuizen, and co-founder of clinical trial software company Medidata Solutions Glen de Vries.
Dubbed NS-18, the mission is the eighteenth for the company and the fifth this year. The rocket took off from Blue Origin’s facility in West Texas around 10:50 AM ET and after a flight of 10 minutes and 17 seconds, where it moved past the Kármán Line and reached an altitude of 65.8 miles, the capsule returned to Earth safely. The rocket, which had separated from the capsule after taking the crew to space, successfully landed about seven minutes after liftoff.
The 90-year-old Shatner has made it into the record books by becoming the oldest person to reach space, a record that was previously held by 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk. Funk had taken to the skies on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight with Jeff Bezos on July 20.
“That was unlike anything they described,” Shatner said as the capsule parachuted back to Earth. “Everybody in the world needs to do this,” he told Jeff Bezos after landing. “That was unbelievable.”
Although it faces very steep competition from SpaceX and other players in the space game, Blue Origin is on its way to establish itself as one of the biggest names in the industry of space tourism, and its successful crewed spaceflights are testament to the dedication to its goal.