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Star Trek legend William Shatner back on Earth after becoming oldest person to visit space

Shatner, aged 90, overtook 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk to become the oldest person in space. Funk also flew aboard a Blue Origin rocket, accompanied by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in July.

Before launch on Wednesday, Shatner said, “There is this mystique of being in space and that much closer to the stars and being weightless.”

“I shall be entranced by the view of space,” he added. “I want to look at that orb and appreciate its beauty and its tenacity.”

Blue Origin Vice President Audrey Powers and two businessmen, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata Solutions co-founder Glen de Vries, accompanied Shatner on the trip.

Former Ohio Senator John Glenn, the previous oldest person in space before Shatner and Funk, retains the age record for someone visiting orbital space. Glenn spent nearly 10 days in orbit in October 1998 as part of a NASA Space Shuttle mission. In comparison, Shatner and Funk’s flights lasted just 10 minutes.

Shatner played ‘Star Trek’ character Captain James T. Kirk in the 1960s and soon became a science-fiction icon.

In 2014, NASA honored Shatner with its Distinguished Public Service medal – the most prestigious available for non-government workers – for encouraging young people to study science and “inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today.”

NASA wished Shatner well for his space flight in a tweet on Wednesday, referencing a line of dialogue from 1982’s ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’.

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