Michael Strahan has made quite a few career moves, from NFL player to sports TV personality to host of “Good Morning America.” His latest endeavor? astronaut.
Strahan traveled with five other passengers on Blue Origin’s third passenger space flight on Saturday from the company’s launch site in West Texas. The crew landed at about 10:10 a.m. ET after launching into the sky.
“I want to go back,” Strahan told his friends when he made landfall.
He said the 50-year-old TV personality covered Jeff Bezos’ first human space launch from Blue Origin this summer, and has since been “fascinated” by human spaceflight. His flight will be the airline’s third ever human spaceflight.
“It will take some time, but I think it will bring a lot of technological breakthroughs and innovations for us here on Earth…and I just wanted to be a part of it,” he said.
“They called me and asked if I wanted to be a crew member and without hesitation, I said ‘yes,'” Strahan told his “GMA co-hosts” Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos last month.
He was joined on the flight by Laura Shepherd Churchley, daughter of astronaut Alan Shepard; aerospace industry philanthropist Dylan Taylor; Investor Evan Dick and first parent-child pair of Lynne Pace and Cameron Pace. Churchley and Strahan were honorary guests on the cruise, while the other four crew members are paying customers.
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Strahan isn’t the first familiar face to go into space. William Shatner, best known for his role in the original “Star Trek” series and the first of six “Star Trek” films, took to space with Blue Origin in October.
The 90-year-old actor became the oldest person to visit space, and described an emotional experience after returning to Earth.
“Everyone in the world needs to do this,” Shatner said. “Everyone in the world needs to see it.” “It was unbelievable. The little things – weightless – but to see the blue (of the sky) lash out from your side and now you’re staring at the blackness… Then it’s gone. Unbelievable.”
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Blue Origin’s first human spaceflight took off on July 20, when it flew with Bezos, Bezos’ brother Mark, Mercury 13 pilot Wally Funk (formerly the oldest person in space) and 18-year-old student Oliver Damon (son of a hedge fund manager) into space under orbital.
Within minutes, the group blasted off from the West Texas desert, flew into space and returned to Earth in a smooth parachute landing.
“Best day ever,” Jeff Bezos said after the plane landed, greeted by a sea of beaming Blue Origin employees and others on the company’s campus.
This was the 16th flight of the New Shepard, the 60-foot-long rocket primarily designed for space tourism, but the first to include people. Bezos said sales of private seats on his flights are close to $100 million.
Contributing: Amy Hanlin