The 90-year-old actor joined Blue Origin Vice President of New Shepard Mission and Flight Operations Audrey Powers as well as Dr. Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries as they blasted off on the aerospace company’s latest suborbital spaceflight on Wednesday. The successful mission makes Shatner the oldest person to travel to space.
The group flew to an estimated 66 miles (106 kilometers) over the West Texas desert in the fully automated capsule before safely parachuting home. Upon returning back to Earth after the 11-minute trip, Shatner emerged from the space capsule where he immediately spoke with CEO Jeff Bezos in the desert about the profound experience he just underwent.
"What you have done," he said to Bezos, getting visibly emotional. "Everybody in the world needs to do this, everybody in the world needs to see the… It was unbelievable. Unbelievable."
After turning down some celebratory champagne from Bezos, the actor began to do his best to describe what it was like to break through Earth’s atmosphere and be confronted with the enormity of space and the unknown.
Shatner described the moment that the image around him turned from the vibrant blue that we on Earth know to be the sky vanishing quickly as they hit orbit as the most surprising thing of his travel into space.
"You’re looking into blackness, that black ugliness. You’re looking at the blue down there [on Earth] and the black up there," he said. "There is mother Earth and comfort and there is… is there death? I don’t know, is that death? Is that the way death is?"
Shatner then put both his hands on Bezos’ shoulders in order to thank him properly for the opportunity he just gave him. In doing so, he briefly referenced other space competitors like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX without naming any one company by name.
"You have done something... I mean, whatever those other guys are doing, I don’t know about that. What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine," Shatner said while fighting back tears. "I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just… it’s extraordinary. It’s extraordinary."
He added: "I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it."
Shatner seemingly returned with a newfound respect for the fragility of our planet, specifically our air. He noted that after seeing Earth from a distance, he was struck by its "vulnerability" and briefly touched on the notion of keeping our air and atmosphere clean.
"But that’s a whole other conversation," he said.
The "Star Trek" actor simply concluded by stating again that there was nothing that compares to the experience.