The final frontier became a reality for the man who played Captain James T. Kirk.
William Shatner, the renowned actor who played Captain Kirk in the show and films of the "Star Trek" franchise has launched into space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft. The launch happened at roughly 10:50 AM EDT, according to a live webcast shared on Blue Origin's YouTube channel (featured below).
At 90 years old, William Shatner is now the oldest person to launch in a rocket to space.
And he boldly traveled where few have gone before.
Captain Kirk became an astronaut aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard
The actor William Shatner and three other crewmembers of Blue Origin's NS-18 New Shepard rocket boarded the rocket, and were strapped in for a launch into space. Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos personally escorted the crew of four to the capsule. The launch was initially scheduled for 9:30 AM, but was delayed and then placed on hold at 10:18 AM EDT. But at 10:50 AM EDT, the rocket lifted off of the launch pad, and began its flight to space with Captain Kirk on board. Roughly two and one-half minutes into the flight, the crew began to experience zero gravity, and cheers could be heard from the ground. The capsule separated from the booster 3 minutes after liftoff.
And, 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the flight, the crew aboard Blue Origin's crew capsule officially entered space. The vessel reached 350,000 ft (106,680 m) before its ascent stopped, and the capsule began its slow reverse in trajectory, for a return drop to the Earth's surface. Possessing a cylindrical, more aerodynamic body, the booster rocket descended much quicker, and touched down without a snag roughly 7 minutes and 20 seconds after launch. This was the fourth flight to space and back for the New Shepard vehicle.
William Shatner returns safely to the Earth's surface
After a short, 10-minute trip, William Shatner and the rest of the crew, who were the 96th through 99th astronauts ever, touched down without incident. Captain Kirk's first venture into space was a complete success. "This is like nothing I've ever experienced before," said Shatner, according to the live webcast.
William Shatner's first-ever spaceflight at age 90 makes him the oldest person to ever reach the final frontier, and a small but enthusiastic crowd was gathered near the launch pad as the clock counted down. The launch was a 10-minute trip with three other crewmembers, much like Jeff Bezos' summer flight. While this isn't a jump to warp speed in the fictional starship Enterprise, the atmosphere of the launch was palpable. "It's time Captain Kirk actually physically got up into space," said Mayor Becky Brewster of Van Horn, according to an AP News report. Van Horn is a nearby rural town of roughly 1,800 people that was a desolate ranchland in far West Texas before Blue Origin's spaceport facilities changed it for keeps.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.