RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – UNC professor Jim Kitchen is now back from his journey into outer space. The Blue Origin blasted off from Texas around 10 a.m. 

The total flight took about 10 minutes. 

“That was a moment…that was a moment,” said Kitchen after exiting the rocket. 

Kitchen was among the six people on board the spaceship. 

“That was an out of body experience. On the way up, you’re going 2300 mph and you feel every bit of that,” said Kitchen. 

Kitchen was holding a jersey with the number 194 on it; an ode to his journey into space after traveling to 193 countries.

“193 is all the countries that I visited. I brought all of my passports with me representing all the countries in the world. This was pushing that final boundary–going to space.

Kitchen says he’s always been passionate about travel and space. 

We don’t know how much he paid for his ticket aboard the Blue Origin, but he did tell us seeing space firsthand has always been a goal. The journey was almost hard for him to explain to people waiting earthside. 

“Time stops. It’s this moment in time where you see this beautiful earth and the blackness of the universe; it’s the blackest black, I’ve ever seen…it’s just breathtaking,” said Kitchen. 

This was Blue Origin’s fourth crewed flight to space and the first of 2022.