Actor William Shatner rang a bell before he and three others launched into space on Wednesday.
Boarding the Blue Origin rocket, company founder Jeff Bezos secured them in the capsule. After a short delay, the rocket launched, and the 90-year-old Shatner -- perhaps best known as Star Trek's Capt. James T. Kirk -- became the oldest person to reach space, or as he might put it: The Final Frontier.
"We're just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is and how extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning," Shatner said before the launch.
The New Shepard rocket cleared the Karman Line, the 62 mile-high altitude that marks the edge of space.
The launch lasted about 11 minutes, and the crew experienced about three minutes of weightlessness, before the rocket and the capsule both landed back in the Texas desert. Stepping from the capsule, a visibly moved Shatner talked with Bezos about the voyage.
"What you have given me," Shatner said, "is the most profound experience I can imagine. I'm so filled with emotion about what just happened. It's extraordinary, extraordinary!"
Space experts, like Seminole State Planetarium manager Derek Demeter, said Shatner has inspired generations of space fans.
"He is an icon for people like myself who've been watching Star Trek my whole life," Demeter said, "and he is where no 90-year-old person has gone before, right?"
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