What just happened? William Shatner has officially become the oldest person to reach space following Blue Origin's successful launch and landing of New Shepard NS-18 just moments ago. The historic flight was originally scheduled for one day earlier on October 12 but was postponed until today due to heavy winds expected in the area. No such winds were present at liftoff on Wednesday.
Today's launch was streamed live online the Internet and witnessed by hundreds of thousands of viewers. NS-18 blasted off from Launch Site One in West Texas and just over four minutes later, all four astronauts - Audrey Powers, Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries and William Shatner - were able to unstrap from their harnesses and experience weightlessness.
Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket successfully completed its fourth mission, landing safely in the upright position without incident. The crew capsule followed a few minutes later, safely delivering the passengers back to solid ground. We didn't get any interior shots of the crew as they experienced weightlessness, but with any luck, Blue Origin will release footage or photos soon.
The mission was Blue Origin's second crewed spaceflight. The first took place back in July as Blue Origin sent founder Jeff Bezos to space along with the youngest astronaut ever (Oliver Daemen at age 18) and the oldest at the time (Wally Funk, age 82). Shatner, who is 90, has taken that distinction from Funk with today's successful flight.
Friends and family were on hand to welcome the crew back to Earth, as was Bezos himself.