William Shatner has defended his historic space flight following criticism from the Duke of Cambridge, saying the royal has got the “wrong idea”.
The 90-year-old actor, famed for his Star Trek role as Captain James T Kirk, said his space mission was a “baby step” to getting “polluting industries…off of Earth”.
The duke, interviewed ahead of his inaugural environment Earthshot Prize awards, said: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”
Shatner lifted off from the Texas desert on Wednesday in a rocket built by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space travel company Blue Origin.
The actor made history by becoming the oldest person to travel into space.
Interviewed by Entertainment Today, the actor said about the duke: “He’s a lovely Englishman. He’s going to be king of England one day. He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea.
“The idea here is not to go, ‘Yeah, look at me. I’m in space.’ No, I would tell the prince, and I hope the prince gets this message, this is a baby step of getting industry, all those polluting industries…off of Earth.”
Shatner and three other passengers lifted off in the fully automated, 60ft-tall New Shepard rocket from Van Horn, west Texas, and reached an altitude of roughly 350,000ft and a velocity of about 2,000mph.
The actor and those on board experienced weightlessness as they reached the fringes of space, and after a trip lasting about 10 minutes, the capsule fell back to Earth with the aid of a parachute.
Addressing the duke’s argument that issues on Earth needed to be tackled before travelling into space, Shatner said: “So fix some of the stuff down here… but we can curl your hair and put lotion on your face at the same time.”