“Uuuu! We are not going to die,” one of the passengers of the Blue Origin NS-22 space tourist mission could be heard live on the mission today (August 4). “Our poor families!”
Shortly after landing in the West Texas wilderness – and without dying – the crew of Blue Origin’s sixth manned space flight sat down to describe their experience.
The Blue Origin New Shepard aircraft made an approximately 10-minute flight today with six passengers, including several minutes in suborbital space. Even those short minutes were enough to change the lives of passengers forever.
Related: Pictured: William Shatner launches into space on New Shepard Blue Origin
“It was more than anything I can describe in words. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be so emotional,” said mechanical and biomedical engineer Sarah Sabry, the first person from Egypt to reach space. Sabri is also the founder of the Deep Space Initiative (DSI), a non-profit organization dedicated to making space exploration more accessible.
“I couldn’t stop crying. It was just out of control,” Sabri added. “It was just wonderful. And the most important thing, I think, the feeling that I have experienced the most out of all this is that I think that everyone on Earth should experience it. Every person should see it, because everyone should be able to see it.”
“All I can think of is that it was the most fun 12 minutes of my life, to be honest,” said Coby Cotton, co-founder of the popular YouTube channel Dude Perfect. “Just being there, seeing, for example, the Earth in this way, I felt so small in a really cool way.”
Cotton added that he intended to use the flight to film content for his YouTube channel, but forgot about it once the capsule went into space.
“I had all these plans, with all the stuff on YouTube, to do some tricks on top,” Cotton said. “I brought these little ping-pong paddles. Marty [Mário Ferreira] and I was going to play ping pong and Steve and I were going to throw a little basketball and they didn’t leave my pockets. I mean, all I wanted to do was look and just float around. And I wouldn’t change it. That was incredible”.
Forever changed. #NS22 pic.twitter.com/UWrtHLiHrHAAugust 4, 2022
Entrepreneur and investor Ferreira, the first person from Portugal to reach space, said he was “very surprised” by the height the New Shepard capsule was able to reach. “I expected to see some curvature of the Earth and black color, but it turned out to be black, much darker.” Ferreira added that it was “an incredible experience and well worth the 18 years I’ve been waiting for.”
Technology pioneer Clint Kelly III, who is credited with starting the development of modern self-driving cars, said the experience made him think back to the history of human exploration.
“It hit me, like everyone else,” Kelly said. “From blue to purple to black. And when it happened, I realized that I was in a new place. So I was at the gate to new frontiers. 1700s when they stood on their own Karman line, which was the Appalachians facing the new frontier that became the state of Kentucky.”
Not all passengers were so verbose. “I asked all of you to impress me, and you guys have impressed me,” said Steve Young, chief executive of telecommunications. “Of course, I had a very emotional experience with it, and I’m going to stop there.”
For author and explorer Vanessa O’Brien, the experience got her thinking about how humanity is entering a new phase of exploration thanks to commercial space launch providers like Blue Origin. “If you wanted to go into space earlier, you would have been preparing for it for decades; perhaps you would join the army, or you would have to do it the other way. millions of people will be able to live and work in space thanks to people like Blue Origin who make it possible.”
The NS-22 flight also held symbolic significance for several passengers on the New Shepard capsule. For Sabri, this brief space flight was a historic moment for her nation. “I thought – for example, I stopped for a moment and really tried to look out the window and think that I was carrying all of Egypt with me.”
“I knew that many Egyptians were watching what was happening at the moment, and I thought: well, now they will go into space … for the first time in history,” Sabri added.
For O’Brien, who carried the female flag of the United Nations (will open in a new tab) going into space with her has served as a symbol of advancing gender equality around the world. “This UN Women flag represents women all over the world, regardless of nationality, race, religion, and is for any woman who wants to go furiously step by step. And this is the motto of Blue Origin. So UN Women also supports this and wants every woman to be in a better place. And I am very proud to have this flag with me today.”
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