Wally Funk gives Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin spaceflight a lukewarm review
The 82-year-old passenger on Tuesday’s Blue Origin mission enthusiastically thanked the billionaire for the flight
Wally Funk is giving Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight a two-star review.
The 82-year-old passenger on Tuesday’s Blue Origin mission enthusiastically thanked the billionaire for the flight, but the trailblazing former NASA trainee also offered some less-than-stellar comments on the 11-minute trip.
"We went right on up and I saw darkness. I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren’t quite high enough," said Funk, who’s now the oldest person to travel to space.
While the suborbital Blue Origin flight goes about 10 miles higher than rival Virgin Galactic’s, footage from onboard the flight’s passenger capsule shows what Funk’s talking about.
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The passengers could see Earth out the windows of the capsule, but it was a far cry from the Pale Blue Dot that’s been pictured from deep in outer space.
And the view from onboard the Blue Origin flight couldn’t quite match the images taken from the International Space Station, which is about four times higher than the Blue Origin flight.
Images from the ISS famously show the sweeping horizon of Earth.
In the footage shared by Blue Origin, passengers appear to be able to see the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere and a bit of curve in the horizon as well as the blackness of space, but as Funk put it, it’s not quite enough to see the whole world in one view.
Additionally, Funk added at the post-flight press conference, she would have liked to have spent longer in zero gravity on the flight to "do a lot more rolls and twists and so forth."
"But there was not quite enough room for all four of us to do all those things," she added.
While Funk can be heard on the footage from the cabin saying, "I love it," the space does appear to be tight.
The capsule is designed to carry six passengers, though this flight carried just four. The footage shows the crew bumping into each other and struggling to somersault through the air.
At one point, another passenger on the flight asks, "Can you move your head a little, Wally, for us?"
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And finally, Funk’s last critique was that she wishes the trip could have been longer.
"I loved every minute of it," she said. "I just wish it had been longer."
The flight lasted almost 11 minutes in total and reached 66.5 miles in altitude.
Less than 10 minutes after blastoff, the rocket’s capsule separated from its reusable booster, allowing the crew to enjoy just a few minutes of weightlessness before parachuting back to the ground.
Footage shows the crew tossed around orange ping-pong balls, and Bezos even threw a Skittle into 18-year-old Oliver Daemen’s mouth.
Daemen, who’s now the youngest person ever to travel to space and the company’s first paying customer, insisted that the flight "felt way cooler than it looked" after reviewing the footage.
"Everyone on the ground was way more emotional than we were," he said. "We were just having fun."
Asked whether he felt like he got his money’s worth, he responded, "For sure. For sure."
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However, it remains unknown how much he, or rather his father, CEO and founder of hedge fund Somerset Capital Partners Joes Daemen, paid for the seat.
Blue Origin hasn’t yet announced what it might charge for seats on future flights, though its rival Virgin Galactic has charged $200,000 to $500,000 for spots on future flights.
Representatives for Blue Origin did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
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