William Shatner is launched into space on New Shepard rocket
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Some were elated to fulfill their once in a lifetime dream of making it up to space, but for Star Trek sensation William Shatner, the fantasy failed to match the reality. The 90-year old was invited by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in his shuttle in October 2021, but when he arrived, he was totally unimpressed.
Why am I bl**dy doing this?!
So far, most of the select few who have returned after a trip to space with Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin have been deeply emotional about their journey.
However, that wasn’t true of William Shatner, whose only thought at one point was: “Why am I bl**dy doing this?!”
The trip was arranged for an Amazon TV documentary that retail giant Bezos had organised, entitled Shatner In Space.
Fans might have thought the Canadian actor, who played Admiral James T Kirk in Star Trek and whose fictional birth in the show was 2233, might have relished the chance to play with the space-time continuum in another realm.
However, in conversation with SFX magazine, he revealed his slightly horrifying trip: “I looked back, and I could see a wake, like a submarine under the water might leave.
“The air was tumultuous, filling in as the ship went through it.
“Then my eyes went up, and there was impenetrable blackness – the kind I’d seen once in a cave.
“It’s blackness that’s almost touchable. There was no spinning stars and the majesty of space.
For those who’d had fantasies about a glittering night sky of the type romanticised in art, William was forced to disappoint them, stating: “It was ominous. It was death.”
He also found that his age meant space travel quickly took its toll.
“Most of the practice was about getting back into your prostrated seat in weightlessness. You’ve got to get back in before you hit five, six, seven Gs – you could break your back,” he warned.
“You’re prone, and you’ve got to wrestle around and get out, using muscles you’ve never used – and they’re old.
“So I was in pain a lot, thinking, ‘Why am I bl**dy doing this?’ I thought, ‘The last thing I want to do is get sick!’ – because there’s a little nausea.”
Meanwhile, as he focused on trying to fight the discomfort, he recalled: “Everybody’s made plans: ‘We’re going to shake hands…’ I don’t know about that! I wanted to just look out of the window!”
Together with three teammates, he had travelled at super speed for ten minutes and 17 seconds, eventually reaching the edge of space, more than 65 miles above ground level.
Then the group had spent less than four minutes experiencing the novelty and shock of total weightlessness.
The sci-fi star had originally been scheduled to take his trip to space even earlier, but his dreams of embarking on the journey when he was still in his 80s had soon been dashed by Covid.
He recalled of Bezos’ invitation that he’d said “the thrill of space might be interesting” – but for William, sadly that prediction turned out not to be accurate.
“We go to their HQ and in the lobby are all these spaceships from Star Trek. There’s Jeff Bezos hovering, and we took pictures. Then we sit down with his advisors and talk about what we’d like to do. They say, ‘This is a great idea, we’ll call you back.’ And then Covid hits.”
However, William was finally able to take a flight into space last year.
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