The “Blue Origin” spacecraft landed today, Wednesday, in western Texas, after a journey that lasted a few minutes in space, with the participation of four passengers, including actor William Shatner, who played the character of Captain Kirk in the famous “Star Trek” series.
The 90-year-old Canadian actor became the oldest person to have ever traveled into space.
This was the second manned flight of the “Blue Origin” spacecraft made by the company of American billionaire Jeff Bezos, which wants to be a major player in the space tourism sector.
Shatner, known as “Captain Kirk” in the space movies series, had said before leaving that he “prepared for his flight by eating some apple pies.”
He added, “I will see the vastness of space and the extraordinary miracle of our Earth and how fragile it is compared to the forces in the universe.”
Shatner, seen in his blue space suit, admitted he was “a little scared” but “excited”.
He continued: “I am happy, anxious, nervous and a little afraid of this whole new adventure, but I have to think about finishing it, being in space and seeing the universe and our earth and the contrast between this hostility and this warmth, and how important it is to keep the earth alive even we do not destroy it, we humans do not destroy it. And this contradiction in all of that is very exciting to me.”
This flight is the second of its kind for the New Shepard missile for tourism and research, according to American media.
And last July, the first flight of the rocket succeeded in transporting Bezos, his brother and two other passengers in one vehicle, into space.
The New Shepard rocket and capsule are designed for suborbital flights, which don’t actually enter Earth orbit but fly to the edge of space, at an altitude of more than 65 miles (105 kilometres), allowing those on board to experience about 4 minutes of weightlessness.
There is a fierce competitive battle between Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic to take advantage of the lucrative space tourism market, which Swiss bank UBS estimates will be worth $3 billion a year within a decade.