On Wednesday morning, William Shatner (née Captain James T. Kirk) boarded a rocket ship, lifted off from the earth, and roared through the sky, into space, the record books, and the history of humankind.
The brief but picture-perfect lift-off, zero-g flight, and safe return touching down in the desert were watched live across the globe. As with the previous such trips, the passengers get just minutes in zero gravity high above the earth at what you might call the “edge” of space, before returning in a capsule as the rocket touches down for later reuse.
The most famous person to go to space, as well as the oldest at 90 years, Shatner is also the fulfillment of a generation’s hopes and dreams for the future.
Star Trek was Gene Roddenberry‘s vision of what exploration and discovery could lead to for humanity. And it powered imaginations across the country and world for decades. Visions of space flight, distant planets, and alien worlds have inspired scientists, engineers, pilots, teachers, and more, not to mention astronauts.
As the beloved actor has his whole life, he continues to inspire that same excitement and fascination for the future, the dream and hope of a more wondrous tomorrow. It was “unlike anything” he’s experienced before, he said as the capsule descended.
“I am overwhelmed,” said Shatner, once more on the ground. So am I, Captain.