Lorraine Kelly has spoken passionately about the importance of space travel in her latest HELLO! diary, arguing that it has made so many scientific breakthroughs and has inspired a generation of researchers and scientists. Read her exclusive column below...
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I have to admit I shed a tear watching 90-year-old William Shatner boldly go into space just like his character Captain Kirk from Star Trek over half a century ago. I viewed the launch with a mixture of excitement and sheer terror and I didn't really relax until I saw him come back down to Earth safely.
Everything went to plan and despite being ninety years old, William almost bounced out of the space capsule and looked as joyful as a young boy. He was clearly emotional, and his words about the fragility of our planet were profound and moving.
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I know Prince William has criticised the latest "billionaire" space programme saying: "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."
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I absolutely agree that the Earth needs to be fixed, but space travel has made so many scientific breakthroughs that have helped us, and I believe we should be reaching for the stars and finding out more about the universe. Otherwise, why are we here?
Lorraine took part in a zero-gravity flight
I'm a huge fan of the original Star Trek series and my first crush was on science officer Mr Spock. I watched it as a kid in the 1960s and saw The Enterprise full of diverse characters and way ahead of its time.
The actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg was also watching enthralled and inspired that in a time when segregation still officially existed in the US, there was a black woman as one of the main cast. Lieutenant Uhuru and Star Trek inspired Whoopi to go into acting and it also inspired a generation of astronauts and scientists.
"It's the nearest thing you will get to actually being in space," she said
That's why it was so fitting to have Captain Kirk as a real-life rocket man. I've had the joy of interviewing him and he's funny, smart as a whip and always unpredictable. He has a wicked sense of humour and he left me such a sweet video message when I turned sixty telling me I was a child of the Universe and still so very young.
I was lucky enough in a zero-gravity flight to experience weightlessness. It's the nearest thing you will get to actually being in space so I have some idea of what William Shatner experienced. I didn't get to see the Earth from space like he did, but I know that it is life changing and I believe we MUST boldly go where no one has gone before.