Celebrities in space (-ish). Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took a ride on his own Blue Origin rocket in July, kicking off a series of high-profile missions. Following Star Trek's William Shatner in October, the next big name to head to the edge of space will be Good Morning America co-anchor and former NFL player Michael Strahan, who will have plenty of company along for the ride.
The mission is scheduled to launch on Saturday and Blue Origin will host a livestream starting at 5:15 a.m. PT, 90 minutes before the targeted liftoff time of 6:45 a.m. PT.
In November, Blue Origin announced the crew list for the NS-19 mission with the New Shepard rocket and crew capsule. Strahan is considered an honorary guest along with Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of the first American in space, Alan Shepard. Blue Origin's spacecraft is named after the Mercury program astronaut.
NS-19 will also have four paying customers: space industry executive Dylan Taylor (CEO of Voyager Space Holdings and founder of nonprofit Space for Humanity); investor Evan Dick; and Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and Cameron Bess. "Lane and Cameron Bess will become the first parent-child pair to fly in space," Blue Origin said.
Taylor, a longtime Star Trek fan, expressed his anticipation in a blog post, saying, "When I was a young boy growing up in rural Northern Idaho, I thought spaceflight was a possibility that only a handful of astronauts could achieve, and I could have never imagined that would someday include me." Taylor called for other commercial astronauts to donate the equivalent of the spaceflight ticket price to worthy causes on Earth.
This will be the first New Shepard flight with a full manifest of six commercial astronauts. It will launch from Blue Origin's Launch Site One in West Texas. In a Friday update, Blue Origin said the weather was looking favorable for NS-19 and its latest group of space tourists.