Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan was the latest celebrity figure to be given a ticket to ride on a Blue Origin space mission Saturday, in what is undoubtedly a promotional opportunity for Jeff Bezos’ venture.
ABC News covered the mission live, along with cable news networks, and the network plans a special later on Saturday on its streaming channel ABC News Live.
The six-member crew included Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, the oldest daughter of Alan Shepard, who in 1961 was the first American to fly into space. The New Shepard rocket is named after her father.
The coverage captured the moment that Strahan and the rest of the crew exited the capsule, greeted by Bezos.
“It’s unreal,” Strahan could be heard telling Bezos, and the excited crew gave each other hugs.
The Amazon founder was part of the first human Blue Origin mission earlier this year. In the second spaceflight, in October, Bezos invited actor William Shatner to join.
The coverage was certainly good PR for Blue Origin, which is among a series of private space ventures launched by billionaires, along with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. It also comes as Amazon is facing intense scrutiny on Capitol Hill for its business practices and employee working conditions. Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon in July and currently is executive chairman.
ABC News anchor T.J. Holmes noted the moment that Strahan and Churchley hugged each other. “This is how far we have come in our journey in space exploration, travel, innovation, that she and Strahan can end up on the same ship, same capsule, going into space now, coming from these two different backgrounds, two different journeys, that now it is making it possible for someone like Strahan and others to go through a week of training and still be able to explore, still be able to explore, to still be able to go to space.”
Others on the crew included paying passengers Dylan Taylor, Evan Dick, Lane Bess and Cameron Bess. Blue Origin has not said how much a trip costs, but it is believed to be in the millions.
Strahan said that he was invited to be a member of the crew. Blue Origin said that he was to receive a stipend, which will be donated to The Boys & Girls Club. The network did not have special access to the flight itself, although it has done coverage of Strahan’s preparations.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 11, 2021
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