Alan Shepard's daughter and GMA's Michael Strahan to fly in space




  • In Science
  • 2021-11-23 14:16:00Z
  • By CBS News

The third crewed flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital spacecraft will launch December 9 with a crew of six, including a network morning anchor and the eldest daughter of Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space, the company announced Tuesday.

Michael Strahan of ABC's "Good Morning America" and Laura Shepard Churchley will fly as guests of Blue Origin, joining four paying customers: philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Lane Ventures founder Lane Bess and his son, Cameron.

A New Shepard spacecraft blasting off from Blue Origin
A New Shepard spacecraft blasting off from Blue Origin's Van Horn, Texas, launch site to kick off a 10-minute up-and-down ride to space.  

Owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin named its sub-orbital spacecraft and rocket after the late Alan Shepard, who blasted off on a sub-orbital up-and-down flight in NASA's Freedom 7 capsule on May 5, 1961. He was the second man to fly in space after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, and the first American to do so.

Shepard went on to become the fifth man to walk on the moon as commander of the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, famously hitting a golf ball on the lunar surface.

His daughter Laura, now 74, serves as chair of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees, which raises funds and provides mentoring for college students and STEM scholars.

"It's kind of fun for me to say an original Shepard will fly on the New Shepard," Churchley said in a video tweeted by Blue Origin. "I'm really excited to be going on a Blue Origin flight."

"An original Shepard will fly on the New Shepard." Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of the first American in space, will embark on her own journey to space on board #NewShepard on December 9. pic.twitter.com/vQfzTKo1ze

- Blue Origin (@blueorigin) November 23, 2021

She continued: "I'm very proud of my father's legacy. He was the first American in space and the fifth man on the moon and so far, has been the only man to play golf on the moon. I believe he would say the same thing as my children: Go for it, Laura."

Strahan, a former professional football player and co-anchor of "Good Morning America," will become the first representative of a news organization to fly in space and the second NFL veteran after retired NASA astronaut Leland Melvin.

Michael Strahan on ABC
Michael Strahan on ABC's  

All six crew members will strap into a New Shepard capsule on December 9 at Blue Origin's launch site near remote Van Horn, Texas. It will be the third New Shepard flight carrying a crew, the company's sixth flight this year and the first carrying a full complement of six crew members.

"When I was a young boy growing up in rural Northern Idaho, I thought spaceflight was a possibility that only a handful of astronauts could achieve, and I could have never imagined that would someday include me," Dylan Taylor wrote in a blog post.

The crew of Blue Origin
The crew of Blue Origin's 19th New Shepard flight (top row, left to right): Lane Bess, Cameron Bess, Evan Dick; (bottom row, left to right): Dylan Taylor, Laura Shepard Churchley, Michael Strahan.  

"To be one of just 600 humans to cross ... into space since the beginning of time? How could this even be possible? What an extraordinary privilege. But as many of us believe, with great privilege comes great responsibility. That is why I intend to buy one/give one. More on that later."

The New Shepard spacecraft is designed to carry passengers just above 62 miles, the internationally recognized "boundary" between the discernible atmosphere and space. As the spacecraft arcs up to the top of its trajectory and starts back down, the crew will experience three to four minutes of weightlessness.

Blue Origin is competing with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic for passengers willing and able to pay upwards of $500,000 a ticket to experience the absence of gravity and panoramic views of Earth from the lower reaches of space.

Virgin Galactic has launched four piloted flights of its VSS Unity spaceplane, carrying Branson and company pilots and engineers to altitudes just above 50 miles, the boundary recognized by NASA and the FAA. Commercial flights are expected to start next year.

Blue Origin's first piloted flight, carrying Bezos and three passengers, came in July, followed by a flight in October that carried "Star Trek" actor William Shatner along with a company executive and two paying customers.

Overall, 601 individuals have flown in space. That includes 29 on suborbital spaceflights aboard the X-15 rocket plane, a privately developed spaceplane known as SpaceShipOne, Blue Origin's New Shepard and Virgin Galactic's Unity.

Homicide charges for SUV driver in Wisconsin parade tragedy that left 5 dead

Suspected SUV driver in Wisconsin parade tragedy to face judge today

Suspect in Wisconsin parade crash to be arraigned; victims identified

COMMENTS

More Related News

Max Q: Rocket Lab unveils Neutron, plus more private space station news
Max Q: Rocket Lab unveils Neutron, plus more private space station news

There was a TON of space news this week so I won't ramble too much, other than to remind you that many of the people mentioned below will be at TC Sessions: Space on the 14th and 15th! On Thursday, Rocket Lab finally gave a much-anticipated update on Neutron, its medium-lift launch system, and the company did not disappoint. Neutron features a number of surprising innovations in both operation and development that depart from other rockets of its class -- I'll go over a few here.

Jeff Bezos donates over $400 million to help save the planet he blasted off from just months ago
Jeff Bezos donates over $400 million to help save the planet he blasted off from just months ago

Jeff Bezos turned his attention to matters on Earth by announcing 44 grants to a range of groups fighting climate crisis totaling $443 million.

William Shatner
William Shatner's space voyage is becoming an Amazon documentary

Earlier this year William Shatner became the oldest person to ever fly to space, and his trip is now set to become an Amazon Prime documentary called Shatner in Space. The Star Trek actor revealed the news himself during a virtual panel for the pop culture conference CCXP Worlds, Deadline reported. "The Shat" was one of four crew members on Blue Origin's second manned NS-18 mission that flew to an altitude of 66 miles aboard New Shepherd, crossing the so called Kármán line into space (though not orbiting the Earth).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Science