Daughter of first American astronaut Alan Shepard launches on Blue Origin flight

Laura Shepard Churchley flew on the spacecraft as a guest



Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley were both guest flyers on Blue Origin spacecraft. – AFP
Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley were both guest flyers on Blue Origin spacecraft. – AFP

By AFP

Published: Sat 11 Dec 2021, 7:26 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Dec 2021, 7:29 PM

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company blasted its third private crew to space on Saturday, this time including the daughter of the first American astronaut.

The stubby white spacecraft with a round tip blasted off into clear blue skies over West Texas for a roughly 11 minute trip to just beyond the internationally-recognized boundary of space, 100km high.

The six-member crew was to enjoy a few minutes' weightlessness before the spaceship was to return to Earth for a gentle parachute landing in the desert.

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

The company's suborbital rocket is in fact named "New Shepard" in honour of the pioneering astronaut.

Michael Strahan, an American football Hall of Famer turned TV personality, was also a guest, while there were four paying customers: space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess, and Cameron Bess.

Lane and Cameron Bess became the first parent-child pair to fly in space. Ticket prices have not been disclosed.

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

Shepard, who died in 1998, went on to be the fifth of 12 men to have set foot on the Moon.


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