VAN HORN, Texas — Blue Origin efficiently launched its first six-person crew into space on Saturday (Dec. 11), and within the course of, set six new space data.
From the tallest particular person to fly into space to the primary parent-child pair to elevate off collectively, the six newly-qualified astronauts made historical past on board Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The crew included former football star-turned-TV anchor Michael Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard, the primary American astronaut to fly into space and the namesake for Blue Origin’s suborbital launch car.
Strahan mentioned the expertise was wonderful. “I want to go back,” he informed Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos after returning to Earth.
Lifting off at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One right here in Van Horn, Texas, the one stage New Shepard rocket lofted the crew on a 10-minute flight that soared simply above the internationally-recognized boundary between Earth and space. Strahan and Churchley, along with paying passengers Dylan Taylor, Evan Dick and Lane and Cameron Bess, skilled about three minutes of weightlessness whereas they appeared down at our planet from 65 miles excessive (1045 km).
The crew capsule, dubbed “RSS FIrst Step,” then descended again to the bottom, utilizing three massive parachutes and a final second burst of air from downward dealing with thrusters to sluggish and cushion the landing. Jeff Bezos, the previous chief govt of Amazon and founding father of Blue Origin, was readily available to welcome the six again to Earth and current every with their Blue Origin astronaut wings.
At 6 ft, 5 inches tall (196 cm), Strahan set a brand new document because the tallest particular person to fly into space. The Super Bowl champion who now co-hosts “Good Morning America” on ABC surpassed the earlier Guinness World Record peak by one inch, which up till now was collectively held by NASA astronauts James “Ox” van Hoften and James Wetherbee.
Blue Origin paid Strahan a stipend to fly as a crew member on the mission, which he in flip donated to The Boys & Girls Club. Strahan isn’t the primary TV information character to fly into space — that distinction goes to Toyohiro Akiyama, who launched to Russia’s space station Mir as a correspondent for the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) in 1990 — however Strahan is the primary journalist to fly on a suborbital spaceflight.
Strahan can be now the primary Black particular person to fly on a suborbital spaceflight out of the now 38 individuals who have made the hop into space and again. (Sixteen Black astronauts and cosmonauts have flown larger and sooner and Strahan on missions that entered Earth orbit.)
The first particular person to launch on a suborbital spaceflight was Alan Shepard, Churchley’s father, who lifted off 60 years in the past on May 5, 1961. (Blue Origin’s New Shepard car is known as after Alan Shepard.) Churchley is now the second, second-generation American astronaut and the primary daughter of a space traveler to depart the planet. Churchley flew as a visitor of Blue Origin.
“I kind of feel a little bit like I’m following in my father’s footsteps,” Churchley mentioned in a Blue Origin video.
After the launch, Strahan mentioned Churchley exclaimed “Let’s light this candle!” in a nod to her father, who mentioned the identical phrases earlier than launching on his Freedom 7 Mercury mission.
Venture capitalist Lane Bess and his offspring Cameron turned the primary dad or mum and baby to fly into space collectively. A Twitch and YouTube content material creator Cameron can be the primary out pansexual particular person to launch off Earth.
“It’s certainly an honor to be one of the first LGTBQ+ people in space,” Cameron Bess mentioned within the Blue Origin crew video.
Taylor, the chairman and CEO of the space exploration agency Voyager Space and founding father of the nonprofit Space for Humanity, and Dick, an engineer and investor who volunteers as a pilot for Starfighters Aerospace, rounded out the New Shepard 19 (NS-19) crew.
Strahan flew in seat no. 1, making him the 604th particular person to fly above 50 miles (80 km), the U.S. definition of the place space begins. Churchley, Taylor, Lane Bess, Cameron Bess and Dick are actually the 605th to 609th folks to fly, respectively.
The NS-19 mission marked the fifth flights every for the RSS First Step capsule and its reusable booster. It was the nineteenth profitable flight for the New Shepard since 2015, the sixth flight of the yr and third launch with people aboard.
Blue Origin devoted Saturday’s launch to earlier passenger Glen DeVries, who died in a plane crash on Nov. 11, lower than a month after launching to space on the corporate’s NS-18 passenger flight with actor William Shatner and two others.
“His passion and dedication will not be forgotten,” Blue Origin wrote in a press release. “Ad astra Glen.”
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