William Shatner Returns to Space

Star Trek actor William Shatner speaks to the news media after his flight with three others in a capsule powered by Blue Origin’s reusable rocket engine New Shepard on a landing pad near Van Horn, Texas, October 13.



Photo:

MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Even after all those years aboard the Starship Enterprise,

William Shatner’s

enthusiasm for worlds beyond has apparently not diminished. On Wednesday the 90-year-old actor became the oldest man in space—and on his return showed a sense of raw wonder that would do Captain

James Tiberius Kirk

proud.

“What you have given me is the most profound experience,” he told

Jeff Bezos,

founder of

Amazon

and Blue Origin, the private space company behind Wednesday’s trip. “I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just, it’s extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this.”

Good for him. In the days of his TV series, the government ran all space exploration. Today new paths are being blazed by private entrepreneurs. In addition to Mr. Bezos, others now funding space efforts include

Richard Branson

and

Elon Musk.

It’s the beginning of a new era in space tourism, and probably exploration and commerce.

Mr. Shatner’s transition from an actor playing a space explorer to a real-life space explorer has been fodder for many a laugh as pop-culture marketing. But the flight risk was real enough. Mr. Bezos says he was partly inspired to found Blue Origin because of his childhood enthusiasm for “Star Trek.”

As a result, what was once science fiction has become reality. We salute Mr. Bezos and Mr. Shatner and his three companions aboard that rocket for reminding us that dreams really can come true. Live long and prosper.

The week’s best and worst from Kim Strassel, Jason Willick, Mene Ukueberuwa and Dan Henninger. Photo: Bloomberg

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Appeared in the October 14, 2021, print edition as ‘Welcome Home, Captain Kirk.’

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