New Shepard-19 will be the first to carry six astronauts to space
Today, Blue Origin announced that Michael Strahan, co-anchor of Good Morning America, and Laura Shepard, daughter of Alan Shepard, the first American to make it to space and fifth man to land on the Moon, will fly on the NS-19 rocket on December 9.
They will be accompanied by four paying customers, who include Voyager Space Chairman and CEO Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess, and his child Cameron Bess. Lane and Cameron will be the first parent and child to fly into space together. With everyone on board, NS-19 will carry a full manifest of six astronauts to space for the first time in Blue Origin’s history.
Each astronaut will carry a postcard during the trip on behalf of Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s foundation that was established to help future generations pursue careers in STEM. As part of its Postcards to Space program, students write or draw their vision of life in space on a postcard, which is flown aboard a New Shepard rocket to space, stamped and returned.
This flight comes nearly two months after Blue Origin launched a 90-year-old William Shatner to the edge of space, where his amazed reaction went viral. In July, the company performed its first all-civilian flight, which included Jeff Bezos himself, his brother and two other passengers. NS-19 will be New Shepard’s third human flight this year, the sixth for the program in 2021, and the 19th in its history.
Liftoff is currently targeted for 9:00 am CST from Launch Site One in West Texas.
In addition to his work on Good Morning America, Strahan is host of “$100,000 Pyramid” and will become the first Super Bowl Champion to visit space. He also serves as an analyst for “Fox NFL Sunday” and headlines the Thursday Night Football Pregame Show. In the spirit of his charitable work, he is donating the stipend he receives from Blue Origin for joining the crew to The Boys & Girls Club.
Laura Shepard Churchley is a natural fit for the New Shepard rocket, which is named after her father. She serves as Chair of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees, a foundation that raises funds for college students and provides mentoring to scholars pursuing careers and research in STEM.
The rest of the crew is eclectic. On top of leading Voyager Space, Taylor founded the nonprofit Space for Humanity, which seeks to democratize access to space. Dick is an engineer, investor, philanthropist, pilot, sailor, motorcyclist and Managing Member of Dick Holdings. Known for helping start cybersecurity companies Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks, Lane Bess is now the Principal and Founder of Bess Ventures and Advisory, a family fund supporting tech firms. His child Cameron, a content creator and software developer, is pansexual and hopes their journey can inspire others.