Star Trek’s “Captain Kirk” really went to space

The spacecraft left on October 13. Jeff Bezos brought on the Blue Origin actor William Shatner, who played the famous Captain James Tiberius Kirk in the stellar film saga.

Captain Kirk really flew into space, or rather William Shatner, the actor who gave the face to the famous Star Trek character, did. The ninety year old climbed aboard Jeff Bezos' New Shepard spacecraft and took off towards the stars on October 13, thus becoming the oldest person to have been in the Cosmos. He even beat 82-year-old Wally Funk, who flew beyond the Earth's atmosphere on July 20 with Amazon's founder for the first Blue Origin space trip.

William Shatner's flight

With Shatner were three other space tourists: Audrey Powers, vice president of Blue Origin, Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth imaging company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, co-founder of a well-known clinical research software platform. The launch took place from the base in Texas at 4:50 p.m. Italian time and lasted "only" ten intense minutes. In fact, the duration is not as short as it may seem since it is a suborbital flight within 100 km of the Earth's surface.

"It's the most profound experience I've ever had," said Shatner as he exited the New Shepard capsule once back on Earth. "I've heard about space for so long until now," Captain Kirk had related, "and now I'm taking the opportunity to see it with my own eyes. What a miracle!" The actor's dream of going into Space was well known and Bezos turned it into reality.

The New Shepard spacecraft

The New Shepard spacecraft can hold up to 6 people and consists of a pressurized capsule with large windows to admire the surrounding environment. The rocket is 18 meters long with, at the top, a ring and aerodynamic fins that stabilize the system and reduce fuel use. Once lifted off, the capsule separated from the launcher at about 76 kilometers above the Earth's surface and continued its parabolic flight to about 106 kilometers altitude. While the body of the rocket, which remained unmanned, landed at a distance of just over 3 kilometers from the starting platform, the capsule with the 4 space tourists arrived on Earth with a landing cushioned by a special parachute.

The era of space tourism actually began on July 11 with the flight into orbit of Richard Branson, patron of Virgin Galactic. Meanwhile, a study has analyzed how much they pollute this kind of travel between the stars.

Stefania Bernardini