Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin to send Good Morning America host to edge of space

Liftoff is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CT on December 9 from Blue Origin’s launch facilities near the rural town of Van Horn, Texas.

Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, whose father Alan Shepard performed a suborbital flight in 1961 and then walked on the moon, will be joined by investors Dylan Taylor, Evan Dick and Lane Bess, as well as Bess’s adult child, Cameron Bess. Blue Origin has said Strahan and Shepard Churchley will be “guests of honor,” much like the last Blue Origin celebrity sent to space edge, William Shatner, and did not pay for their tickets.

This flight will mark the first time that Blue Origin will occupy all six seats of its New Shepard rocket and capsule, which is named after Alan Shepard. On the company’s two previous flights, including the July flight that sent Bezos himself into space, only four of the seats have been occupied.

This means passengers will have a little less leeway than previous customers, especially Strahan, who is six-foot-five.

Strahan announced his intention to join the flight during a segment on Hello america Tuesday morning, noting that Blue Origin had measured him for his flight suit and had him test one of the seats in the New Shepard capsule to make sure it would fit.

Strahan spent 15 seasons in the NFL, all with the New York Giants, where he won the Super Bowl with them in 2007. He was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

The flight will follow a similar profile to Shatner and Bezos before it, spending just 10 minutes above the ground.

Suborbital flights are very different from orbital flights of the type most of us think of when we think of space flights. Blue Origin’s New Shepard flights will be brief trips up and down, although they will go over 100 km above Earth, which is widely considered to be the edge of outer space.

Orbital rockets need to generate enough power to reach at least 17,000 miles per hour, or what’s known as orbital speed, essentially giving a spacecraft enough energy to keep spinning around Earth instead. than being immediately dragged down by gravity.

Suborbital flights require much less power and speed. This means less time it takes the rocket to burn, lower temperatures scorching the exterior of the spacecraft, less force and compression tearing the spacecraft, and generally less chance of something going wrong.

New Shepard’s suborbital fights reach about three times the speed of sound – about 2,300 miles per hour – and fly straight upward until the rocket spends most of its fuel. The crew capsule will then separate from the rocket at the top of the flight path and continue upward briefly before the capsule hovers almost at the top of its flight path, giving passengers a few minutes of weightlessness.
A graphic that shows the flight profile of Blue Origin's New Shepard.

The New Shepard capsule then deploys a large plume of parachutes to slow its descent to less than 20 miles per hour before touching the ground.

This will mark the third of what Blue Origin hopes will be many space tourism launches, transporting high net worth customers to the edge of space. This could be a line of business that helps fund other more ambitious Blue Origin space projects, including the development of a 300-foot-tall rocket powerful enough to send satellites into orbit and a lander. lunar.

But the news also comes as Blue Origin grapples with a major setback. The company has been turned over to a coveted NASA contract to build the lander that will put humans on the moon for the first time in half a century. Blue Origin lost to its main competitor, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, and fought the decision – even going so far as to escalate the battle in federal court – only to be dismissed and accused of delaying the moon landing. one year, until 2025.
Blue Origin also still faces a flashback from an explosive public trial that claims the company promotes a toxic work environment and is plagued by safety concerns, which the Federal Aviation Administration, which allows commercial launches, said she was examining. Blue Origin has firmly denied the claims in the trial and has repeatedly said safety is its top priority.

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