“Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan signed up to follow billionaire Jeff Bezos and actor William Shatner to the edge of space on the next space shuttle Blue Origin, the private company said Tuesday.
Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Mr. Bezos, said on Tuesday that the third flight with a human crew would start in early December. This spaceflight will have six passengers, two more than those on the company’s two previous crew flights, and will follow several other private launches this year, as billionaire-backed companies compete to send wealthy tourists on space travel.
Mr. Strahan had covered Blue Origin’s first manned aircraft, in July, from the company’s launch site in West Texas. On Tuesday, he told his colleagues on “Good Morning America” that when the company approached him to join the plane, he said yes “without hesitation”.
“I think this is the way to be innovative, creative, pioneering in aerospace, now aerospace,” Strahan said on Tuesday’s show. “And it’s going to take a while, but I think it’s going to bring a lot of technological breakthroughs and also innovations to us here on earth, and I just want to be a part of it.”
Mr. Strahan said he had met the other members of the crew at Zoom and had been equipped for a space suit.
Blue Origin invited two guests to its next spaceflight, Mr. Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of Alan Shepard, who became the first American in space in 1951. The other four passengers paid for their seats. A Blue Origin spokeswoman, Sara Blask, declined to say how much they paid.
The other crew members include the first parent-child couple to fly into space: Lane Bess, a technology investor who founded Bess Ventures and Advisory, and the father of Cameron Bess, a content creator.
Blue Origin said the other passengers will be Evan Dick, an engineer and investor, and Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space, a space exploration company.
Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the richest people in the world, was a passenger on the company’s first flight with a human crew in July. Also that month, another private space company, Virgin Galactic, took the company’s founder, Richard Branson, to the edge of space and back.
Blue Origin completed its second manned flight in October. The crew included William Shatner, who at 90 became the oldest person to fly in space. Another passenger, Glen de Vries, died less than a month later in a plane crash in New Jersey.
The third flight is scheduled to launch from West Texas on December 9. Next year, three passengers plan to reach the International Space Station on a rocket developed by a third space company, SpaceX, on seats purchased through the company Axiom Space.