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William Shatner descended from a Blue Origin space capsule Wednesday overwhelmed by the experience ofaboard the company's rocket.
The 90-year-old actor and "Star Trek" star was emotional — and occasionally at a loss for words — as he stood at the landing site in the West Texas desert describing the flight to the man who made it possible.
"What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine," he told Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who hugged and stood alongside Shatner right after the spaceflight. "I'm so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just, it's extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it."
Shatner described the 10-minute journey of climbing to the edge of space and back — and what he saw 65 miles above the Earth — as "unbelievable." He said he was struck by the stark "ugliness" of the blackness compared to the blue-and-white of our planet.
"Everybody in the world needs to do this," Shatner said. "It was unbelievable, unbelievable. ... To see the blue air cover go whip by and you're staring into blackness, that's the thing. The covering of blue, this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue that we have around us, we think, oh, that's blue sky, and then suddenly you shoot through it all as though you whip off a sheet when you're asleep, and you're looking into blackness."
"It's so, so much larger than me and life," he said. "It hasn't got anything to do with a little green planet, a blue orb, it has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my God."
The New Shepard capsule is equipped with some of the largest windows in a currently-flying spacecraft, giving Shatner and his crewmates hemispheric views of Earth far below. He said the weightlessness he experienced in flight was "weird," but "not as weird as the covering of blue."
"This is what I never expected," he said.
"It's one thing to say, oh, the sky, and (it's) fragile, it's all true. But what ... is unknown until you do it, is there's this pure, soft blue. Look at the beauty of that color! And it's so thin, and you're through it in an instant."
Video released after the flight showed Shatner and his crewmates floating about the cabin and focusing on the view outside from high above the Earth. Shatner appeared mesmerized, quietly gazing out at the black of space and the brilliant planet 65 miles below.
FLYING HIGH: Video from inside the Blue Origin spacecraft shows William Shatner and the crew expressing amazement as they floated through the air and looked down on Earth from space. https://t.co/95JYKcU3HF pic.twitter.com/06niBWOJRa
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 13, 2021
Shatner was invited to fly to space as a guest of Blue Origin. He flew alongside three other crewmates: Australian entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen, microbiologist Glen de Vries and Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers.