• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Jeff Bezos' guest describes a short, crowded spaceflight experience: 'There was not quite enough room'

·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
jeff bezos and three other passengers in jumpsuits float around spaceship cabin earth in background
A screengrab from video recorded inside the New Shepard capsule shows. From left, Oliver Daemen, Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk in microgravity. Blue Origin

Blue Origin rocketed its first passengers to the edge of space on Tuesday morning. Roughly 10 minutes later, the crew returned to the West Texas desert after spending just three minutes in zero gravity.

"I loved every minute of it," Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviator, said in a ceremony after the flight. "I just wish it had been longer."

The billionaire Jeff Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, invited Funk and his brother Mark to accompany him on the flight. Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high-school graduate from the Netherlands, joined them. His father had purchased the final seat on the flight after an auction winner backed out.

Back on land, the passengers were beaming and gave hugs all around. They popped champagne at their landing site. But one of the guests' reviews of the flight came with caveats.

"We went right on up and I saw darkness," Funk, now the oldest person to travel to space, said. "I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren't quite high enough."

Indeed, during the livestream Funk could be heard saying, "It's dark up here."

wally funk exits new shepard capsule after landing
Funk emerges from the New Shepard capsule on July 20. Blue Origin via Reuters

Once they unbuckled, the passengers could see Earth out the spaceship windows. But it wasn't the blue marble one might witness from the moon, nor was it the same curving horizon that professional astronauts see from the International Space Station. (The station is about four times higher than the altitude Bezos and his companions reached on Tuesday.)

During the post-flight ceremony, Blue Origin shared the footage below from inside the spaceship. In the background, you can clearly see clouds, the edge of Earth's atmosphere, and the blackness of space beyond it.

Funk had dreamed of visiting space for decades.

She joined an all-woman space mission dubbed Mercury 13 in 1961, but the program was ultimately scrapped - seemingly for sexist reasons. She later embarked on a long career in aviation. In a Blue Origin video announcing her flight, Funk said she had taught over 3,000 people to fly. But she never made it to space until Tuesday.

Despite the brevity and crowding, the flight was "great," she said.

"I loved it," Funk said. "I can hardly wait to go again."

Funk is signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic's space plane, which makes a similar trip that offers roughly five minutes in microgravity. It's not clear when she'll make that trip.

Avery Hartmans contributed reporting.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting