William Shatner Becomes the Oldest Person to Reach Space

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Science|At 90, William Shatner becomes the oldest idiosyncratic to scope ‘the last frontier.’


Oct. 13, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

Oct. 13, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

William Shatner with a wax fig  of Captain Kirk successful  2009.
Credit...Fred Prouser/Reuters

When William Shatner, 90, traveled to the borderline of abstraction aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard connected Wednesday helium became the oldest idiosyncratic ever to scope specified heights.

Mr. Shatner, whose sanction has been synonymous with abstraction exploration since helium played Captain James T. Kirk successful the archetypal “Star Trek” bid much than fractional a period ago, became the archetypal nonagenarian to transverse the Kármán line, the wide recognized bound betwixt the ambiance and abstraction astir 63 miles supra the Earth.

Asked whether helium was successful grooming for the astir 10-minute mission, Mr. Shatner joked earlier the formation that the regimen had been intense.

“All the time,” helium told Anderson Cooper connected CNN. “I’m moving miles, miles.”

Mr. Shatner’s voyage came blistery connected the heels of 1 by Wally Funk, who astatine 82 was the oldest idiosyncratic to question to abstraction erstwhile she took portion successful a Blue Origin formation successful July with Jeff Bezos, the company’s owner.

Ms. Funk excelled astatine tests for astronauts successful the abstraction programme successful the 1960s, earlier Mr. Shatner played Captain Kirk, but NASA did not let women to go astronauts astatine the time.

John Glenn, who was the archetypal American to orbit the Earth successful 1962, besides became the oldest idiosyncratic to scope space erstwhile helium flew aboard a abstraction shuttle ngo much than 35 years aboriginal astatine the property of 77. Unlike Mr. Shatner oregon Ms. Funk, Mr. Glenn’s travel went to orbit, which requires a overmuch much almighty rocket than the 1 powering Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft.

The youngest idiosyncratic ever to question to abstraction besides flew connected Blue Origin’s July flight. He was Oliver Daemen, 18, of the Netherlands.

Mr. Shatner told Mr. Cooper that “I’m a small spot tense astir the flight.”

But curiosity was a much almighty motivator, and Mr. Shatner said helium was excited by the question “What volition I spot erstwhile I’m retired there?”

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