The first four people to experience weightlessness in Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft didn’t need to be told twice that it was safe to move about the cabin after reaching 66 miles above the Earth.
Wally Funk, 82 and Oliver Daeman, 18, joined Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and his younger brother Mark Bezos for New Shepard’s first human spaceflight Tuesday after launching from West Texas. From launch to landing the whole experience lasted just over 10 minutes with four of those in zero gravity.
Blue Origin shared about 1 minute and 30 seconds of video of that weightless experience showing the four crew floating about the spacecraft and rejoicing at the views of Earth from the large windows.
“Oh wow,” Daeman, the youngest person to visit space said after unbuckling from his seat and taking a front flip.
Daeman, of the Netherlands, was Blue Origin’s first paying customer. A $28 million winning bidder for Blue Origin’s first crewed flight couldn’t make it and Daeman was scheduled to fly on the second flight. He jumped at the chance to go early when the spot opened up.
Funk, became the oldest person in space but has been waiting six decades to go up. As a young pilot she was part of the first all-woman astronaut training program in the 1960s but none of the women known as the Mercury 13 ever achieved spaceflight until Tuesday.
An aviation pioneer Funk has logged more than 19,000 flight hours during her career.
“Is it everything you thought it would be?” Jeff Bezos asked Funk, who was invited as his guest.
“Fantastic,” Funk said. “I love it.”
After the capsule returned to Earth landing via parachute Funk told reporters she wished the experience in zero gravity lasted longer.
“I loved every minute of it, I just wish it had been longer,” Funk said, adding there was not quite enough room in the capsule for everyone to roll and flip as they pleased.
Ping pong balls were passed between the crew and Jeff Bezos offered up some space snacks, tossing some candy to Daeman to catch in his mouth.
“Who wants a skittle?” he said.
After some hoots and hollering, the crew looked out the large windows as the blue Earth could be viewed below and the blackness of space beyond.
The Blue Origin billionaire founder said the company has already arranged nearly $100 million in payments from customers who want to fly to the edge of space in New Shepard. The company has yet to say when it will set an official ticket price or when those seats will be open to the general public. Right now, Blue Origin is contacting people who took part in the competitive bidding process for its first human spaceflight.
Blue Origin has plans to launch two more crews this year.
Funk said she is ready to go again.
“I want to go again — fast,” she exclaimed.
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