William Shatner boldly went into space and is now safely back on earth. The "Star Trek" actor returned back to the planet after a brief flight to the edge of space Wednesday.
Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk on the popular science fiction television series, was aboard Blue Origin's second human spaceflight. He was accompanied by three other passengers, including a Blue Origin employee and two paying customers. The ship had no pilot and was automatically flown into space and back.
The actor officially became the oldest person to fly into space at 90 years old. Shatner joked about how he had only broken the world record because of his age and not because of anything else.
"I wish I had broken the world record in the 10-yard dash, but unfortunately it was how old I was," Shatner said.
Shatner described his brief encounter with being in outer space as akin to having a blanket being removed when you're asleep and how everything turns into blackness and all you see is "black ugliness."
He also compared his experience as like being a young boy playing with pebbles on the beach and trying to find the smoothest pebble but not being aware that the "great ocean of truth" was just lying out there "undiscovered."
The rocket the actor was on, Blue Origin's New Shepard, departed from the company's launch site on Wednesday morning in Van Horn, Texas. Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, was on-site for the launch. He personally met with all four passengers before they departed into space.
The entire flight, from launch to landing, only took less than 15 minutes. During that time, the passengers experiences weightlessness and were presented with a view of the planet from space.
Bezos admitted that he was a big "Star Trek" fan when he was young. He said he had made tricorders and communicators to play with his friend when he was just 9 years old. Bezos had given one of those toys to Shatner, who agreed to take them up into space. Apart from fulfilling his childhood dreams, taking Shatner into space was a brilliant marketing move by Bezos. Shatner, and his role in the television series, has made him the embodiment of humanity's dreams of exploring the cosmos.