Daughter of the first American astronaut to fly on the Blue Origin flight


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Launch Site One (United States) (AFP) – Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is set to send his third private crew into space on Saturday, this time including the daughter of America’s first astronaut.

The space flight will last approximately 11 minutes, taking off from the company’s base in Texas and ascending just beyond the internationally recognized limit of space, 100 kilometers high.

The six-member crew will unbuckle themselves and enjoy a few minutes of weightlessness before the spacecraft returns to Earth for a smooth parachute landing in the desert.

The launch date has been pushed back due to high winds, but is now set for 8.45am local time (2.45pm GMT) on Saturday.

Laura Shepard Churchley, whose father Alan Shepard became the first American to travel to space in 1961, will fly as a guest of Blue Origin.

The company’s suborbital rocket is actually named “New Shepard” in honor of the pioneering astronaut.

Michael Strahan, an American Football Hall of Fame member turned TV personality, is also a guest, while there are four paying clients: space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, the founder of Bess Ventures Lane Bess and Cameron Bess.

Lane and Cameron Bess will become the first parent-child couple to fly into space. Ticket prices were not disclosed.

“It’s pretty funny for me to say that an original Shepard will fly on the New Shepard,” said Shepard Churchley, who runs a foundation that promotes science and raises funds for students, in a video. “I am very proud of my father’s legacy.”

Alan Shepard performed a 15-minute suborbital space flight on May 5, 1961, just under a month after Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union became the first human in space, orbiting the planet.

Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket named New Shepard in honor of pioneering astronaut Patrick T. FALLON AFP / File

Shepard, who died in 1998, became the fifth of twelve men to set foot on the moon.

Previous Blue Origin flights have transported the company’s billionaire founder, Bezos, along with Star Trek actor William Shatner to space.

Bezos, who made his fortune with Amazon, envisions a future in which humanity disperses throughout the solar system, living and working in giant space colonies powered by artificial gravity.

This, he said, would leave Earth as a pristine tourist destination, much like national parks today.

2021 has been an important year for the space tourism industry, with Virgin Galactic also taking its founder Richard Branson to the Last Frontier, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX sending four private citizens on a three-day orbital mission for a charity. charity.

The forecasted growth of the industry means that starting next year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Friday that it would stop issuing astronaut wing badges to commercial space travelers, although ‘she will continue to recognize them on her website.

“The Astronaut Wings program, established in 2004, has achieved its original goal of bringing additional attention to this exciting endeavor,” FAA Associate Administrator Wayne Monteith said in a statement.


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