Investing in Space

William Shatner emotionally describes spaceflight to Jeff Bezos: 'The most profound experience'

Key Points
  • William Shatner, moments after returning to Earth from a trip just beyond the edge of space, recounted his experience in an emotional talk with Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.
  • The Canadian actor, who famously played Capt. Kirk in the original "Star Trek" series, described the spaceflight as "unbelievable" and something that "everybody in the world needs to do."
  • Bezos' company launched Shatner and three others in a New Shepard rocket on Wednesday, with the crew spending a couple minutes in microgravity during the trip to space and back.
VIDEO4:0704:07
'So important for everyone to have this experience,' Shatner says after suborbital space flight

"What you've given me is the most profound experience I can imagine."

Those were the words of William Shatner moments after returning to Earth from a trip just beyond the edge of space during an emotional talk with Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.

The Canadian actor, who famously played Capt. Kirk in the original "Star Trek" television series, added that the spaceflight was "unbelievable" and something that "everybody in the world needs to do."

"It was so moving to me," Shatner said.

Bezos' company launched Shatner and three others in a New Shepard rocket on Wednesday, with the crew spending a couple minutes in microgravity during the trip to space and back.

Read the full transcript of what Shatner told Bezos below or watch the video above.

Shatner: "Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see ... it was unbelievable."

Shatner: "I mean, the little things, the weightlessness, and to see the blue color whip by and now you're staring into blackness. That's the thing. This covering of blue is this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue around that we have around us. We think 'oh, that's blue sky' and suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, like you whip a sheet off you when you're asleep, and you're looking into blackness – into black ugliness. And you look down, there's the blue down there, and the black up there, and there is Mother Earth and comfort and – is there death? Is that the way death is?"

VIDEO2:0202:02
Blue Origin successfully sends four more 'astronauts,' including Star Trek's William Shatner, to space

Shatner: "It was so moving to me. This experience; it was something unbelievable. Yeah, weightlessness, my stomach went out, this was so weird, but not as weird as the covering of blue – this is what I never expected. It's one thing to say "oh the sky ... and it's fragile," it's all true. But what isn't true, what is unknown, until you do [go to space] is this pillow, there's this soft blue. Look at the beauty of that color. And it's so thin and you're through it in an instant. How thick is it? Is it a mile?"

Bezos: "The atmosphere, it depends on how you measure because how it thins out, maybe 50 miles."

Shatner: "So you're through 50 miles ... suddenly you're through the blue and you're into black ... it's mysterious and galaxies and things, but what you see is black, and what you see down there is light, and that's the difference."

Star Trek actor William Shatner experiences weightlessness with three other passengers during the apogee of the Blue Origin New Shepard mission NS-18 suborbital flight near Van Horn, Texas, U.S. in a still image from video October 13, 2021.
Blue Origin | Reuters

Shatner: "And not to have this? You have done something ... what you've given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I am so filled with emotion about what just happened. It's 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. It's so much larger than me and life; it hasn't got anything to do with the little green and blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my god, it's unbelievable."

Bezos: "It's so beautiful."

Shatner: "Beautiful, yes, beautiful in it's way but."

Bezos: "No, I mean your words. It's just amazing."

Shatner: "I can't even begin to express ... what I would love to do is to communicate as much as possible is the jeopardy. The moment you see the vulnerability of everything; it's so small. This air, which is keeping us alive, is thinner than your skin. It's a sliver; it's immeasurably small when you think in terms of the universe. It's negligible, this air. Mars doesn't have any, nothing. I mean, when you think of when carbon dioxide changes to oxygen and what is 20% that sustains our life? It's so thin."

Bezos: "And you shoot through it so fast."

Shatner: "So quickly! 50 miles."

Bezos: "And then you're just in blackness."

Shatner: "You're in death."

Bezos: "This is life."

Shatner: "And that's death. In the moment, this is life and that's death. And in an instant you go 'wow, that's death.' That's what I saw."

Bezos: That's amazing."

Shatner: "I am overwhelmed. I had no idea. You know, we were talking earlier before going: 'Well, you know, it's going to be different.' Whatever that is phrase is that you have, that you have a different view of things? That doesn't begin to explain, to describe it for me."

Shatner: "This is now the commercial. It would be so important for everybody to have that experience, through one means or anything – maybe you put it on 3D and wear goggles to have that experience, that's certainly a technical possibility.

Shatner: "We were lying there, and I'm thinking – one delay after another delay and we're lying there – and I'm thinking 'yeah, I'm a little jittery here.' And they moved the page, and 'oh, there's something in the engine,' they said: 'Found an anomaly in the engine ... we're gonna hold a little longer.' And I feel this, in the stomach, the biome inside, and I'm think 'okay, I'm thinking I'm a little nervous here' and then another delay. By the way, the simulation ... it's only a simulation, everything else is much more involved."

Bezos: "Doesn't capture it."

Shatner: "Doesn't capture it ... and besides, with the jeopardy, BANG this thing hits. That wasn't anything like the simulation."

Bezos: "It's the G forces!"

Shatner: "It's the G forces. And you're thinking 'what's going to happen to me? Am I going to be able to survive the G forces?' You feel that? Am I going to survive it? Good lord, just getting up the bloody [launch tower] gantry was enough. Oh my god, what an experience."

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