Blue Origin's NS-20 mission carried with it the flag of Ukraine courtesy of one of the space tourists aboard New Shepard.
Professor and entrepreneur Jim Kitchen was carrying a symbol of support and unity for Ukraine, which Russia invaded on Feb. 24.
"So in my passport, I brought both the Ukrainian and American flags, and I released them, just paying my respects to the situation that's occurring there now and just to let them know that our hearts collectively are with them," Kitchen told Space.com.
Six space tourists took the fourth crewed flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket into suborbital space on Thursday (Mar. 31).
Kitchen didn't carry just one passport on the trip; he brought 10, each with stamps from visits to all 193 UN-recognized countries. According to Blue Origin, Kitchen is the only person ever to make those international rounds on Earth as well as go to space.
Kitchen, like many other space travelers, emphasized that the view from above shows Earth as it truly is - a beautiful, unified entity with no borders in sight.
"We're all just people," he said. "We're governed by different leadership structures and different governments and different borders, but we're all just human. And so I just wanted to express some humanity on this flight, and let them know that we were mindful of what's occurring around us."
On Thursday's flight, Kitchen was joined by four other paying passengers: businessman Marty Allen; Sharon Hagle, founder of the education nonprofit SpaceKids Global; her husband Marc Hagle, president and CEO of the real estate development firm Tricor International; and George Nield, president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC, who served as associate administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation from 2008 to 2012.
Sharon and Marc Hagle made history by being the first married couple to fly in a private spacecraft together. They're not the first such duo to reach space together, however; that would be NASA astronauts Mark Lee and Jan Davis, who both flew on the space shuttle Endeavour's STS-47 mission in 1992.
Gary Lai, the principal architect of the New Shepard system, was the sixth passenger on Thursday's trip. Lai flew for free, taking over the seat previously designated for "Saturday Night Live" star Pete Davidson, who dropped out after the trip was postponed from its original Mar. 23 target date.
Passengers are weightless for three to four minutes and may see Earth against the blackness of space. Blue Origin hasn't said how much it charges for a seat on the vehicle.