Jeff Bezos’s guests describe a short, crowded spaceflight experience: ‘There was not quite enough room’

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 (left to right) Oliver Daemen, Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk in microgravity.

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.”

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 beamed and gave hugs all around. They popped champagne at their landing site. But some 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 ever 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
Wally Funk emerges from the New Shepard capsule, July 20, 2021.

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 below video footage 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.