Capt. Kirk’s William Shatner blasts into space

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This undated photo made available by Blue Origin in October 2021 shows, from left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. Their launch scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Jeff Bezos used for his own trup three months earlier. (Blue Origin via AP)

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) — Hollywood’s Captain Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner, has blasted into space and safely returned to Earth in a convergence of science fiction and science reality.

He set out Wednesday morning for the final frontier aboard a ship built by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company. The “Star Trek” hero becomes the oldest person to ride a rocket.

The fully automatic spacecraft reached an estimated altitude of 66 miles over the West Texas desert. The up-and-down flight lasted about 10 minutes, with Shatner and his three fellow passengers parachuting back to Earth in the capsule.

Following the touchdown, Shatner was emotional and told Bezos “You’ve given me the most profound experience and hope I never recover.”

William Shatner talks with Jeff Bezos following his ride into space.

Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, invited Shatner on the brief jaunt to the fringes of the final frontier, which will make him the oldest person in space. It will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight and should last just 10 minutes, like Bezos’ own spaceflight in July.

Meanwhile, Blue Origin is facing allegations that its owner, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, sacrificed safety to win the space race. The FAA is reviewing the allegations but isn’t stopping today’s blast off.

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