Daughter of pioneer astronaut Alan Shepard boarded the Blue Origin spaceflight

FILE PHOTO: Blue Origin delays the launch of NFL's Michael Strahan, five other civilians into space
FILE PHOTO: Launch site A sign is displayed after Blue Origin was delayed because of weather, the airline’s next New Shepard astrological tour flight with an all-civilian crew of six, which included two unpaid guests of honor, “Good Morning America”-anchor and former NFL star Michael Strahan, and Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of pioneer astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space that the ship The New Shepard universe gets its name from Launch Site One in West Texas, Texas, USA, December 8, 2021. REUTERS / Joe Skipper / File photo.

December 11, 2021

By Joe Skipper and Steve Gorman

VAN HORN, Texas (Reuters) – The eldest daughter of pioneering US astronaut Alan Shepard is set for a trip to the edge of space aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin commercial rocket ship on Saturday, 60 years later NASA’s famous subterranean orbital flight of her late father at the dawn of the Space Age.

Laura Shepard Churchley, 74, who was a schoolgirl when her father first flew into space, is one of six who will take off at 8:45 a.m. Central time (1445 GMT) from the Blue Origin launch site inside. out of the rural West Texas Horn town of Van.

They will fly in the crew compartment of a fully automated six-decker spacecraft called the New Shepard, which is designed to soar to an altitude of about 350,000 feet (106 km) before falling back to Earth for a landing by air. parachute to the desert floor. .

The entire flight, from takeoff to landing, is expected to last a little over 10 minutes, with the crew experiencing several minutes of weightlessness at the top of the suborbital flight.

The spacecraft itself is named after Alan Shepard, who in 1961 made history as the second and first American to travel into space – a towed suborbital flight 15 minutes as one of NASA’s original ‘Mercury Seven’ astronauts.

A decade later, Shepard walked on the moon as commander of the Apollo 14 mission, hitting the famous two golf courses on the lunar surface.

Churchley was one of two non-paying honorary passengers selected by Blue Origin for Saturday’s flight. The other is Michael Strahan, 50, a retired National Football League star and co-host of ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

They were joined by four little-known, wealthy clients who paid undisclosed but presumably huge sums for their New Shepard chair – space industry executive Dylan Taylor, engineer and investor Evan Dick, venture capitalist Lane Bess and his 23-year-old son, Cameron Bess. According to Blue Origin.

Saturday’s flight is expected to reach a maximum altitude of about 65 miles – just above the internationally recognized boundary of space, the Karman Line, about 62 miles above Earth.

The launch marks the third space travel flight of Blue Origin, the company Bezos – founder and executive chairman of retail giant – founded two decades ago and is the The company’s first flight with a six-passenger crew.

Bezos himself tagged on Blue Origin’s first flight in July, along with his brother, Mark Bezos, October pioneer female pilot Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daeman, a high school graduate. Dutch student and the beneficiary of a $28 million auction sweepstakes.

Actor William Shatner, who demonstrated the promise of space travel as Captain James T. Kirk of the Enterprise spacecraft in the 1960s TV series “Star Trek,” joined https://www. -trek-actor-shatner-poised-blue-origin-space-jaunt-2021-10-13, second New Shepard crew in October to become oldest person in space time at the age of 90.

British billionaire Richard Branson beat Bezos in nine days as he accompanied him on the first full crewed voyage of his own Virgin Galactic Holding Inc space tourism venture, soaring to the edge of space over New Mexico in a rocket plane launched at altitude from an aircraft carrier jet.

The third player in the burgeoning space tourism sector, fellow billionaire businessman Elon Musk, inaugurated his SpaceX citizen astronaut service in September with the launch of the all-people crew the first to orbit the Earth.

(Replaced by Joe Skipper of Van Horn, Texas and Steve Gorman of Los Angeles; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien) Daughter of pioneer astronaut Alan Shepard boarded the Blue Origin spaceflight


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