"What you have given me is the most profound experience," the 90-year-old actor, best known for his portrayal as Captain James T. Kirk on "Star Trek," told Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos moments after exiting New Shepard's capsule. "I'm so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now — I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life…It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death."
"Everybody in the world needs to do this," he added. "It was so moving to me. This experience, it's something unbelievable"
Following New Shepard's latest launch, Shatner is officially the oldest person to fly to space.
The flight, which lifted off from Blue Origin's Launch Site One in West Texas at approximately 10:50 a.m. and lasted for approximately 10 minutes and 17 seconds, reached a maximum altitude of nearly 66 miles, just above the Kármán line, the internationally recognized boundary of space. The crew experienced approximately three to four minutes of weightlessness.
Along with Shatner, New Shepard carried the Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, former NASA engineer and Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder and Dassault Systèmes' vice chair of life sciences and healthcare Glen de Vries.
Wednesday's flight is the second successful crewed launch for Blue Origin, following the July 20 spaceflight which carried Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.
"At Blue Origin, we are motivated by the dreamers that inspire us and the builders who turn those dreams into reality. Today’s crew represented both dreamers and builders." Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a statement. "This flight was another step forward in flying astronauts safely and often. It’s an incredible team and we are just getting started."
Despite the mission's success, Blue Origin faces multiple allegations raised in an essay by a group of 21 former and current employees, including creating an unsafe working environment for female employees, ignoring safety and environmental concerns and engaging in a "suppression of dissent" to avoid internal criticism.
Blue Origin previously told FOX Business that it has "no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind" and believes that New Shepard is "the safest space vehicle ever designed or built." The safety concerns raised in the essay are under review by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The aerospace company is planning one more crewed flight in 2021, with several more crewed flights planned for 2022.