What just happened? Blue Origin has just completed its third crewed mission to space. The flight was significant as it marked the first time Blue Origin has flown with a full capacity of six passengers onboard. Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-19 was originally slated for liftoff on December 9, but inclement weather pushed the flight back to Saturday morning.
The six passengers included Laura Shepard Churchley, the oldest daughter of NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the first NASA astronaut to fly in space. The New Shepard spacecraft is named after him.
Dylan Taylor is the chairman and CEO of space exploration company Voyager Space. He also founded the nonprofit Space for Humanity and is a co-founding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Lane Bess is the founder of tech-focused venture fund Bess Ventures and Advisory. Accompanying Lane was his son, Cameron Bess, described as a variety streamer on Twitch.
Evan Dick is an engineer and investor, as well as a volunteer pilot for Starfighters Aerospace. Michael Strahan, perhaps the most famous person Blue Origin has sent to space outside of William Shatner and founder Jeff Bezos, is a Super Bowl-winning former NFL player and television personality.
According to Space.com, Churchley and Strahan flew as guests of Blue Origin, while the others paid for their seats.
The mission seemingly went off without a hitch. After having watched several of these now, what’s remarkable as an onlooker is just how quickly the whole thing is over. The main rocket ride itself lasts roughly two-and-a-half minutes, and the astronauts only get to experience zero gravity for roughly three minutes before having to strap back in for descent. From start to finish, it lasts just over 10 minutes.