William Shatner Made a Vow Before His Blue Origin Space Flight: ‘I Am so Filled With Emotion’

With the age of space exploration now firmly in the hands of billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk — along with their space-oriented companies — it’s become easier than ever to go to space. That said, the phenomenon is still rare enough that it’s limited mostly to the rich and famous. Or, in the case of William Shatner, the OG Captain Kirk, it doesn’t hurt to be both. 

William Shatner smiling
William Shatner | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Shatner traveled for about 11 minutes last October into space, experienced weightlessness, and came back to Earth with a renewed sense of wonder for the world. In his preparations for the flight, he made a vow to help him absorb as much from the experience as he could. 

Shatner’s trek into space with Blue Origin was free to him

Shatner traveled with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin on the second human flight the company sent to space. Shatner flew with three other passengers on the New Shepherd rocket. Shatner — perhaps because of his portrayal of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk and Bezos’ adoration for the show — did not pay for his ticket to space, according to the New York Times. The actor, who was 90 at the time of his flight, became the oldest person to fly into space. 

On Blue Origin flights, passengers are launched and experience about three to four minutes of weightlessness as they travel above the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized border to space. The entire journey lasts about 11 minutes, according to Blue Origin’s Twitter page. 

The company has so far not released figures for how much individual tickets cost, though Bezos has said the company has sold more than $100 million in private tickets to an undisclosed number of people, per CNN.

Tickets for similar flights from Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic range from $250,000 to $500,000, USA Today reported. Trips that actually go into orbit can cost much more, often with price tags in the $58 million range, the publication added. 

Shatner vowed to soak in his moments in space

At a recent panel during 2022’s Comic-Con in San Diego, Shatner said he had promised himself he wouldn’t distract himself just by floating around during the periods of weightlessness but would aim to get a greater impression of the world from his once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

“I went, and I vowed that every moment that I spent in space would not be playing around in weightlessness, but looking out the window and trying to get an impression,” Shatner said, according to The Hollywood Reporter

When Shatner returned to Earth from his voyage, he had trouble putting the experience into words. “I am so filled with emotion,” Shatner told Bezos while describing the feeling of leaving Earth, another Hollywood Reporter article shared. “I am overwhelmed. I had no idea.”

The actor also seemed to have a renewed passion for preserving life on this planet rather than exploring others. When one Comic-Con attendee asked Shatner which planet he’d most like to visit, he responded, “This is the only f***ing planet we’ve got.”

Shatner is one of several celebrities to fly to space in recent months 

Shatner is one of the most notable celebrities to travel into space, but he’s far from the only one now that private companies have made space travel more of a possibility. Owning one of the space companies makes it infinitely more achievable: Bezos traveled on Blue Origin’s first human flight to space in July 2021, and Branson traveled on a Virgin Galactic flight that same month. (The other billionaire space explorer, Musk, has yet to travel beyond Earth’s borders.) 

In December, Good Morning America host and former NFL player Michael Strahan boarded yet another Blue Origin rocket. Many others have been rumored but have yet to confirm pending plans — Pete Davidson backed out of a Blue Origin flight in the spring due to a schedule conflict, and others like Leonardo DiCaprio come up in space exploration conversations but have never publicly spoken about buying a ticket. 

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