Star Trek´s William Shatner, one of science-fiction´s most recognizable characters, became a real life space traveler on Wednesday on Blue Origin´s second human mission.
“It was unbelievable,” said the 90-year-old Canadian, who was moved to tears after the 11-minute journey beyond the planet´s atmosphere and back again to the Texas desert.
The New Shepard rocket took off around 9:49 am (1449 GMT) after experiencing two brief delays.
Shatner was joined by Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, an Australian national, and Glen de Vries of clinical research platform Medidata Solutions.
Company founder Jeff Bezos was on hand to greet the crew members as they climbed out of the capsule and were showered with applause and champagne.
Like the 600 or so astronauts who have gone before him, Shatner marveled at the experience of weightlessness and the stunning view of Earth from space.
“What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I´m so filled with emotion about what just happened,” he told Bezos.
The mission was a replay of the company´s maiden human flight in July, which included Bezos and was seen as a breakthrough moment for the nascent space tourism sector.
This time around, all attention was focused on Shatner, who became the oldest-ever astronaut, despite an appearance suggesting a man decades younger.
The intergalactic voyages of the USS Enterprise, commanded by Shatner´s character Captain James T. Kirk, helped turn American attention to the stars as the US space program was starting out.
“Captain Kirk… represents ´the final frontier´ perhaps more than anyone else for a couple different generations of people, in the US and worldwide,” screenwriter and Trek historian Marc Cushman said.
Shatner, also known for his role as lawyer Denny Crane in “Boston Legal,” among many others, has spoken in the past about an at-times difficult relationship with Star Trek and its fan culture.
But in recent years, the actor has leaned into the fame brought about by his most famous role.
“It looks like there´s a great deal of curiosity in this fictional character, Captain Kirk,” he said in a video released by Blue Origin.
“Let´s go along with it and enjoy the ride.”