Weather has delayed Blue Origin's third crewed launch by at least 48 hours, pushing off liftoff of "Good Morning America" (GMA) anchor Michael Strahan and five other individuals.
The launch is now set for Saturday (Dec. 11), rather than Thursday (Dec. 9), due to windy conditions at Launch Site One in Van Horn, Texas.
"The #NewShepard team has completed Flight Readiness Review and certified that the vehicle is ready for flight. Weather is the only gating factor to get to launch," Blue Origin wrote in a statement posted on Twitter Wednesday (Dec. 8).
The new liftoff time is 9:45 a.m. EST (8:45 a.m. local time or 1445 GMT). A live broadcast will likely begin at 9:15 a.m. EST (1215 GMT) for the broadcast at BlueOrigin.com and here at Space.com. The company also plans to share mission updates through @BlueOrigin on Twitter.
This mission will be the first time that all six seats on the New Shepard spacecraft are filled, and below is a list of the people in the crew.
- Michael Strahan, 50, co-anchor of ABC's Good Morning America," host of "$100,000 Pyramid" and analyst of "Fox NFL Sunday" during the football season. Strahan will be the second retired NFL football player to launch into space, having been a defensive end for the New York Giants for 15 seasons
- Laura Shepard Churchley, 74, the eldest daughter of NASA astronaut Alan Shepard. Shepard was the first NASA astronaut to fly in space, and the New Shepard spacecraft is named after him.
- Dylan Taylor, 51, chairman and CEO of the space exploration firm Voyager Space, founder of the nonprofit Space for Humanity, and co-founding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
- Evan Dick, age not disclosed, an engineer and investor who is a volunteer pilot for Starfighters Aerospace.
- Lane Bess, age not disclosed, principal and founder of a technology-focused venture fund called Bess Ventures and Advisory.
- Cameron Bess, age not disclosed, who is a child of Lane. They stream variety content on Twitch under the alias MeepsKitten.
The mission, whenever it launches, is expected to last about 11 minutes from launch to landing. The rocket and spacecraft will both land separately, with the spacecraft descending back to the launch site under parachutes minutes after the rocket comes down under its own power.
This will be New Shepard's 19th flight. Most previous efforts were uncrewed tests or payload research flights. New Shepard flights soar far above the the Kármán line, an internationally recognized boundary of space at 62 miles (100 km) in altitude, and include two to three minutes of weightlessness in suborbital space.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace