Alan Shepard’s Daughter and Michael Strahan Are Headed to Space

Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of astronaut Alan Shepard, and “Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan are heading to space next month.

Top left to right: Lane Bess, Cameron Bess, and Evan Dick; Bottom left to right: Dylan Taylor, Laura Shepard Churchley, and Michael Strahan. Credit: Blue Origin

Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of astronaut Alan Shepard, and “Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan are heading to space next month.

On Tuesday, Blue Origin announced it is sending New Shepard back up on December 9 for its third human flight and the sixth for the program in 2021. It will be the 19th mission in the program’s history. 

The vessel, New Shepard, will carry six people, including Churchley and Strahan, both who are considered honorary guests. The other four are customers and include space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess, and Cameron Bess. The Besses will become the first parent-child pair to fly in space. 

Also on board NS-19 will be a postcard from each astronaut flown on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to help future generations pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space. 

The announcement comes a month after the Jeff Bezos-backed company sent actor William Shatner into space. That mission on October 13 also included crew member and pilot Glen de Vries, who died November 12 when his airplane went down in New Jersey.

About the Crew

Churchley has dedicated her life to promoting what her father, Alan Shepard, who became the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on the moon. Alan Shepard, the namesake of New Shepard, died in 1998 at the age of 74; he would have celebrated his 98th on November 18. Churchely currently serves as chair of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees, a foundation that raises funds for college students and provides mentoring to scholars pursuing careers and research in STEM. 

Strahan is a two-time Emmy award winner, Peabody award-winning journalist, and Super Bowl champion, who currently serves as a co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and host of the top-rated primetime game show “$100,000 Pyramid.” Strahan additionally serves as an analyst for “Fox NFL Sunday” and headlines the Thursday Night Football Pregame Show live from New York City. As a crew member, he will receive a stipend, which is being donated to The Boys and Girls Club. 

Taylor is chairman and CEO of Voyager Space, a global space exploration firm headquartered in Denver, and the founder of the global nonprofit Space for Humanity, which seeks to democratize access to space. He is also co-founding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, is ATP-certificated, and is a volunteer for Starfighters Aerospace.   

Lane Bess is the principal and founder of Bess Ventures and Advisory, a family fund supporting technology firms that innovate and disrupt across multiple market sectors. He helped start two cybersecurity companies—Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks. He also serves as a trustee at Carnegie Mellon University and, along with his family, supports philanthropic interests across health and social issues.  

Cameron Bess is a content creator who studied computer science and game design at DigiPen Institute for Technology in Washington. 

How to Watch    

Live launch coverage begins on at T-90 minutes. Liftoff is currently targeted for 10 a.m. ET from Launch Site One in West Texas.  

Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Meg is head of Digital Editorial Content, bringing 20 years of editorial experience in both digital and print to the Firecrown team. Follow Meg on Twitter @emdash13.

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