The actor who performed Captain Kirk performed the position of pitchman for Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight firm at a time that it’s dealing with a variety of office and enterprise difficulties.

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William Shatner Blasts off to House on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Rocket

At 90 years outdated, the actor William Shatner grew to become the oldest particular person to journey to area and cross the Kármán line. The “Star Trek” star traveled to area with three different passengers on a mission that lasted about 10 minutes.

“T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 — command engines begin — 2, 1.” “The rocket is climbing in the direction of an altitude, we’re aiming simply over the Kármán line, the internationally acknowledged line of area of 100 kilometers that’s about 328,000 ft, and a stunning view down the rocket. And there they’re, over 328,000 ft, over 100 kilometers. Welcome to area, the most recent astronauts on board our crew capsule. And right here come the mains. Oh, what a flight.” “Stand by landing. Stand by landing.” “Stand by landing.” And the capsule touched down. Welcome again. The latest astronauts, Audrey Powers, William Shatner; our clients, Glen de Vries and Chris Boshuizen. What a day for you. Welcome again.” [cheering]

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At 90 years outdated, the actor William Shatner grew to become the oldest particular person to journey to area and cross the Kármán line. The “Star Trek” star traveled to area with three different passengers on a mission that lasted about 10 minutes.Credit scoreCredit score…Joey Roulette/The New York Instances

NEAR VAN HORN, TEXAS — William Shatner, the actor finest often called the heroic Captain James T. Kirk in “Star Trek,” and three different passengers returned safely from a short journey to the sting of area on Wednesday.

Mr. Shatner, 90, grew to become the world’s oldest area traveler on the flight, which was the newest tour over the West Texas desert aboard a rocket constructed by Blue Origin for area vacationers. The personal area firm is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founding father of Amazon and one of many wealthiest males on the planet.

It was the sixth launch carrying personal passengers this 12 months, as billionaire-backed corporations jockey to normalize launching people to area. Carrying two paying passengers, the short jaunt to area additionally checked off one other revenue-generating flight for Blue Origin’s area tourism enterprise, advancing competitors with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to draw extra rich and adventure-seeking clients.

However the profitable flight and touchdown got here amid a string of controversies for Mr. Bezos’ firm, significantly prices from present and former workers that its office tradition was “rife” with sexism and that it prioritized pace over addressing some workers’ security considerations. The corporate has rebutted the criticisms, however has additionally confronted setbacks in different strains of its enterprise.

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William Shatner Is Dropped at Tears Describing His Journey to House

The actor who performed Captain Kirk in “Star Trek” advised Jeff Bezos his go to to the sting of area within the Blue Origin rocket was probably the most profound expertise he might think about.

Simply unbelievable, unbelievable. I imply, you understand, the little issues — however to see the blue shade whip by, and now you’re staring into blackness, that’s the factor. The protecting of blue is — this sheet, this blanket, this comforter, this comforter of blue that we’ve round, we predict, “Oh, it’s blue sky. After which instantly, you shoot by it the entire sudden as if you’re whipping a sheet off you once you’re asleep. And also you’re wanting into blackness, into black ugliness and also you look down, there’s the blue down there and the black up there. And it’s simply — there may be Mom Earth, consolation. And there may be — is there, loss of life? I don’t know — was that loss of life, is that the way in which loss of life is? Whoop, and it’s gone. Jesus. It was so transferring to me. What you may have given me is probably the most profound expertise I can think about. I’m so crammed with emotion about what simply occurred. I simply — it’s extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I by no means recuperate from this. I hope that I can keep what I really feel now. I don’t need to lose it. It’s so — a lot bigger than me and life. And that is now the business, everyone — it will be so vital for everyone to have that have.

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The actor who performed Captain Kirk in “Star Trek” advised Jeff Bezos his go to to the sting of area within the Blue Origin rocket was probably the most profound expertise he might think about.Credit scoreCredit score…Blue Origin, by way of EPA, by way of Shutterstock

These considerations had been absent on Wednesday as an effusive Mr. Shatner bent Mr. Bezos’ ear simply exterior the capsule after it landed, pouring forth phrases throughout a video livestream to explain his transient trek into the bounds of the planet’s ambiance. His journey aboard the rocket might need been conceived as a publicity stunt, however brushing the sting of the sky left the actor filled with surprise, combined with unease.

“What you may have given me is probably the most profound expertise I can think about,” Mr. Shatner advised Mr. Bezos, waxing poetically in regards to the “immeasurably small” line he witnessed between Earth and area, describing it as a fragile, underappreciated boundary between life and loss of life.

“This air which is protecting us alive is thinner than your pores and skin,” he continued, including: “it will be so vital for everyone to have that have, by one means or one other.”

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The Origin New Shepard rocket rising from the launch site on Wednesday.
Credit score…LM Otero/Related Press

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Credit score…Mario Tama/Getty Pictures

Mr. Bezos, who has mentioned he was impressed by “Star Trek” as a boy, listened, nonetheless as a statue. He might have been giving Mr. Shatner some area, however it was a pointy distinction to his look after his personal transient spaceflight in July, when he was aboard the identical spacecraft. Then, Mr. Bezos held forth from a stage, rousing condemnation from critics of the vast company he founded as he thanked Amazon’s workers and clients for making it potential for him to finance his personal area enterprise.

Mr. Shatner shared the capsule on Wednesday with three different passengers: Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin vp who oversees New Shepard operations, and two paying clients: Chris Boshuizen, a co-founder of the Earth-observation firm Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of an organization that builds software program for medical researchers.

The launch Wednesday morning was pushed again by roughly an hour by two pauses to the launch countdown — prompted partly by further checks to the spacecraft and winds close to its launchpad. The quartet was pushed in electrical pickup vehicles to Blue Origin’s launchpad, roughly an hour earlier than liftoff, flanked by Mr. Bezos and firm workers.

For a second, it appeared Mr. Bezos, wearing a flight swimsuit just like the one he wore in July, would be a part of them in flying to area. However he closed the hatch door earlier than leaving the pad, sending the crew on their journey.

The rocket lifted off at 9: 49 a.m. Central time, ascending almost as quick as a dashing bullet at 2,235 miles per hour and sending the crew some 65.8 miles excessive. The entire journey lasted 10 minutes, 17 seconds, and gave the 4 passengers about 4 minutes of weightlessness.

Mr. Boshuizen, speaking to reporters after the flight, likened the crew’s entry into area to a stone hitting the floor of a lake. “I used to be making an attempt to smile however my jaw was pushed again in my head,” he mentioned.

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Credit score… Blue Origin, by way of EPA, by way of Shutterstock

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Credit score…CBS by way of Getty Pictures

Mr. de Vries mentioned the crew “had a second of camaraderie” after they reached area. “We really simply put our fingers collectively,” he mentioned.

“After which we loved the view as a lot as we will,” Mr. de Vries mentioned.

In video footage launched later by Blue Origin, Mr. Shatner appeared almost speechless because the crew floated contained in the capsule, legs aloft and small toys wafting round. “That is nuts,” mentioned Ms. Powers, gripping the body of one of many capsule’s home windows.

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William Shatner and Crew Float in House

Footage captured the 90-year-old “Star Trek” actor and three different passengers floating weightless contained in the Blue Origin spacecraft capsule throughout their journey to the sting of area.

“God.” “Weightlessness. Oh, Jesus.” [laughter] “No description can equal this.” “That is nuts.” “Oh, my God.” [laughter] “That is Earth.” “Oh wow.” “Holy hell.” “Oh, my goodness. Wow.”

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Footage captured the 90-year-old “Star Trek” actor and three different passengers floating weightless contained in the Blue Origin spacecraft capsule throughout their journey to the sting of area.Credit scoreCredit score…Blue Origin

The capsule then descended again to land beneath a set of three parachutes.

Mr. Shatner wasn’t thrilled about his new standing because the oldest particular person to fly into area. “I want I had damaged the world file within the 10-yard sprint, however sadly it was how outdated I used to be,” he mentioned hours after the mission throughout a information convention on the touchdown pad. He beat the file just lately clinched throughout Blue Origin’s first crewed flight in July by Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pilot and former candidate for NASA’s astronaut corps who was turned down from becoming a member of within the 60s due to her intercourse.

Like Blue Origin’s July journey, through which Mr. Bezos launched to area with Ms. Funk and two different passengers, Wednesday’s flight served as an commercial of the corporate’s area tourism enterprise to potential rich clients. It’s competing primarily with Virgin Galactic, a rival area firm based by Richard Branson, the British businessman.

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital ship is an area airplane that takes off from a runway like a business airliner. It tops out at a decrease altitude. The corporate despatched Mr. Branson and three firm workers to the sting of area in July aboard SpaceShipTwo, 9 days earlier than Mr. Bezos’ flight.

Blue Origin has declined to publicly state a value for a ticket to fly on New Shepard. The corporate is nearing $100 million in gross sales to this point, Mr. Bezos had mentioned in July. However it’s unclear what number of ticket holders that features.

Tickets on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo had been hiked to $450,000 in August, from $250,000, when the corporate reopened ticket gross sales after a yearslong hiatus. And flights to orbit — a a lot greater altitude than Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic’s journeys go — are far costlier. Three passengers going to the Worldwide House Station subsequent 12 months are paying $55 million every for his or her seats on a SpaceX rocket, purchased by the corporate Axiom House.

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Credit score…SpaceX

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Credit score…Virgin Galactic, by way of Reuters

However area tourism isn’t Blue Origin’s solely enterprise, nor its solely problem. Earlier this 12 months, the corporate misplaced out to SpaceX, the rival rocket firm owned by the billionaire Elon Musk, for a profitable NASA contract to land people on the moon. The corporate is presently difficult the award to SpaceX in federal courtroom, and will obtain a ruling in November.

Mr. Bezos’ firm can be making an attempt to beat technical hurdles in its effort to complete constructing its a lot greater rocket, New Glenn, in addition to that rocket’s engines, that are to be relied on by a competitor, United Launch Alliance, to fly NASA and Pentagon {hardware} on its rockets.

Its most rapid problem has involved accusations that the corporate’s work tradition allowed harassment and sexist conduct. In September, Alexandra Abrams, the previous head of worker communications at Blue Origin, published an essay with 20 unnamed current and former employees of the corporate outlining these prices, in addition to accusations that inside security considerations had been usually dismissed by administration.

“Even when there are completely zero points with all of Blue’s applications, which is totally not the case, a poisonous tradition bursting with schedule strain and untrustworthy leaders breeds and encourages failures and errors every day,” Ms. Abrams mentioned this week.

Blue Origin disputed the allegations within the essay, saying in a press release that the corporate has an inside hotline for sexual harassment complaints. And on Wednesday’s livestream of the launch, Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin’s astronaut gross sales director, emphasised the corporate’s security file, saying “security has been baked into the design of New Shepard from day one.”

On Wednesday after the flight, Mr. Shatner additionally introduced up New Shepard’s security.

“I believe, simply typically, the press must understand how protected this was,” he mentioned, including “the know-how may be very protected, the method was protected, the coaching was protected and the whole lot went based on precisely what they predicted. We even waited for the winds an additional half-hour.”

However requested by reporters if he would launch to area once more, he mentioned, “I’m so crammed with such an emotion, I don’t need to dissipate it by pondering of one other journey.”

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Credit score…LM Otero/Related Press

David Streitfeld and Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

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