Blue Origin launches crew of six space tourists to the edge of space

Blue Origin has successfully launched a six-person crew to the edge of space for the first time. The company, founded by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, took a crew of private astronauts including a football star and the daughter of an astronaut on a 10-minute flight to the boundary between Earth and space in its NS-19 mission.

The mission, using a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, blasted off from Van Horn in Texas at 10 a.m. ET (7 a.m. PT) on Saturday, December 11. The full crew consisted of four paying passengers (including a father and his child, the first time such a pair has flown on the same spaceflight), plus Blue Origin guests Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of the first U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard, and former New York Giants football star and current TV host Michael Strahan.

The crew of New Shepard NS-19. Pictured from left to right: Dylan Taylor, Lane Bess, Cameron Bess, Laura Shepard Churchley, Michael Strahan, and Evan Dick.
The crew of New Shepard NS-19. Pictured from left to right: Dylan Taylor, Lane Bess, Cameron Bess, Laura Shepard Churchley, Michael Strahan, and Evan Dick. Blue Origin

Strahan posted a video of himself after the flight to Twitter. “I gotta say, it was surreal!” he says in the clip. “It’s unbelievable. It’s hard to even describe it. It’s going to take a little bit to process it, but it couldn’t have gone better.”

TOUCHDOWN has a new meaning now!!!

WOW…. that was amazing!!! 🚀🚀 @blueorigin @SMAC pic.twitter.com/xz54JT49f3

— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) December 11, 2021

The flight was livestreamed by Blue Origin, but don’t worry if you missed out on watching it — you can replay the flight using the video embedded below:

“We had a great flight today. This was our sixth flight in what has been a great year for the New Shepard program. We flew 14 astronauts to space, flew a NASA payload flight that tested lunar landing sensors, and completed our certification test flights,” said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, in a statement. “I want to thank our payload customers, our astronauts and, of course, Team Blue for these many important accomplishments. I am so proud to be part of this dedicated and hard-working team that ensures that each and every flight of New Shepard is safe and reliable. And, it’s fun to say that this is just the beginning.”

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