William Shatner has been through a lot in his life, but for almost all he is best known first as Captain Kirk, the hyper-emotional head of the USS Enterprise on the original Star Trek television series. Today, he ventured into space in real life as a passenger aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle.
The trip makes Shatner the oldest person to have traveled to space—a record one might hold for good, given that the man is 90 years old. According to, the flight took only 10 minutes BBC, taking them up just over 100 kilometers, but despite that relative brevity, Shatner indicated on his return that the experience was transformative.
“The blue cover, this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of the blue that is all around us — we think, oh, that blue sky,” he said in full force Shatner style after touchdown. “And then all of a sudden you shoot through all of this, like when you’re sleeping, you whip out the sheets, and you’re looking at the blackness—in the black ugliness.
“And you look down, there’s blue down there, and there’s black. There’s Mother Earth and there’s comfort, and there’s – ‘there’ is death? I don’t know. Is that death? Is that death? Oh , and it’s gone. Jesus.”
William Shatner on becoming the oldest person to reach space: “I’m very passionate about what happened. It’s extraordinary, extraordinary … I hope I can maintain what I feel now, I Don’t want to lose it.” https://t.co/nrLuu43XsD pic.twitter.com/XytPxkk7va13 October 2021
To be clear, Shatner and his fellow passengers—Blue Origin vice president Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Dassault Systems executive Glen de Vries—actually traveled to space. As astronomy.com Points out, at 100 km above the planet’s surface, the Karman line is widely accepted as the boundary between Earth and outer space, and if you make it to that line, you’re in the club. By comparison, the International Space Station orbits Earth at nearly four times that altitude – just over 400 km on average.
Shatner’s record as the oldest human to go into space is set by actual astronaut John Glenn, who served as a payload specialist on Space Shuttle Discovery over the course of nine days. STS-95 mission in 1998, when he was 77 years old. It is not known how much Shatner paid for the ride, but a comparable suborbital jaunt with Virgin Galactic currently costs $450,000. Believe it or not, it’s relatively cheap: In June, an anonymous bidder $28 million dropped With Bezos to ride the New Shepard rocket, though he was eventually replaced by the son of the CEO of a private equity firm.
Lest there be any doubts, Shatner also has some legitimate PC gaming connections: in addition to all the great (and not-so-great) Star Trek games he helped inspire, he appeared in the FMV segment of Takewar FPS (which Makes sense, since he’s the credited writer), promoted the old VIC-20, and gave us the Shatner voice pack for Elite: Dangerous.