Apollo astronaut Alan Shepard’s daughter Laura Shepard Churchley and “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan will blast off on Blue Origin’s New Shepard alongside four other customers on Dec. 9, 2021.
This will be the 19th mission for New Shepard, named after Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space, and will be the first to carry a full manifest of six astronauts to space – two honorary guests and four paying customers.
Guests include Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard, who was the first American to fly to space. The four customers include space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess, and Cameron Bess. Lane and Cameron Bess will become the first parent-child pair to fly in space.
This mission furthers the company’s vision of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. It will be New Shepard’s third human flight this year, the sixth for the program in 2021, and the 19th in its history. It will carry a full manifest of six astronauts to space for the first time.
Live launch coverage begins on BlueOrigin.com at T-90 minutes. Liftoff is currently targeted for 9:00 am CST / 15:00 UTC from Launch Site One in West Texas.
Also on board NS-19 will be a postcard from each astronaut flown on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to help future generations pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space. The Club’s Postcards to Space program gives students
Here’s more from Blue Origin:
Meet the crew:
Laura Shepard Churchley
Laura has dedicated her life to promoting what her father, Alan Shepard, started when he became the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on the Moon. Alan Shepard is the namesake of New Shepard. She currently 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.
Michael is a two-time Emmy award winner, Peabody award-winning journalist, and Super Bowl Champion, who currently serves as a co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and host of the top-rated primetime game show “$100,000 Pyramid.” Strahan additionally serves as an analyst for “Fox NFL Sunday” and headlines the Thursday Night Football Pregame Show live from New York City. Partnering with his longtime friend Constance Schwartz, Strahan formed SMAC Entertainment, a multidimensional talent management, music, branding, and production company which has become known for strong, diversified content, and its production of the “Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.” Strahan is also intensely dedicated to charitable work, supporting the USO, HELP USA, Merging Vets and Players organizations.
Blue Origin invited Michael to join the crew of this flight. As a crew member, he will receive a stipend, which is being donated to The Boys & Girls Club.
Dylan is an active pioneer in the space exploration industry as a CEO, investor, thought leader, and philanthropist. He is the Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space, a global space exploration firm headquartered in Denver, and the founder of the global nonprofit Space for Humanity, which seeks to democratize access to space. He is also co-Founding Patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Known for his commitment to creating positive impact in the world and leading Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives in the space community, Dylan was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute in 2014 and a Fellow of the Unreasonable Group in 2021.
Evan is an engineer, investor, and Managing Member of Dick Holdings, LLC. Evan formerly served as Senior Vice President for D.E. Shaw and Managing Director of Highbridge Capital Management, and is a charitable supporter of the Darwin Foundation and Population Relief International Corp. Evan is an ATP-rated pilot and volunteer for Starfighters Aerospace, as well as an avid sailor and motorcyclist.
Lane is the Principal and Founder of Bess Ventures and Advisory, a family fund supporting technology firms that innovate and disrupt across multiple market sectors. Lane is best known for having helped start and build two of the most important cybersecurity companies in the public markets today, Zscaler (NASDQ) and Palo Alto Networks (NYSE). Lane also serves as a Trustee at Carnegie Mellon University and, along with his family, supports philanthropic interests across health and social issues.
Cameron is a content creator with a passion for creating and expressing themselves in ways that can brighten a person’s day. After studying Computer Science and Game Design at DigiPen Institute for Technology in Washington, they’ve developed an engaged community across multiple platforms, producing original content and developing proprietary software to support their audience. Cameron identifies as pansexual and is proud to represent marginalized communities and hopes their journey can inspire others.