Michael Strahan’s Blue Origin Launch on New Shepard: Live updates


‘The capsule is ready to fly’

At T-13 minutes, the New Shepard spacecraft is now “escape enabled,” which means the escape system is active and the rocket is ready to fly. We also saw the launch tower slightly move away from the rocket, during the broadcast.

‘The Original Six’

Blue Origin is starting to refer to the NS-19 crew as “The Original Six” in its broadcast. This is the first six-person crew to climb on board a New Shepard flight, but the moniker has older origins than that. 

“The Original Seven” was a nickname sometimes used for the Mercury 7, which is the name for the first seven astronauts selected by NASA in 1959. Alan Shepard was among those first NASA astronauts selected, and became the first of the group to fly to space in 1961. His daughter Laura Shepard Churchley is part of the NS-19 crew, flying on board a spacecraft named after her father.

‘Star Trek’ pendant flying on New Shepard

Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, will be flying with a pendant fashioned after the “Long Live and Prosper” sign made famous on “Star Trek.” The pendant is a personal item of Julie Nimoy, daughter of Leonard Nimoy (Spock on “The Original Series.”) The elder Nimoy invented the sign in the 1960s and was known to sign off on his tweets with “LLAP” before his death in 2015.

LLAP necklace Blue Origin

(Image credit: Blue Origin)

Hatch closes to the New Shepard spacecraft

The six members of the Blue Origin NS-19 crew are now inside the New Shepard spacecraft, the RSS First Step, with the hatch closed.

Crew begins New Shepard spacecraft ingress

The six-member NS-19 crew is beginning ingress of the New Shepard spacecraft. 

Crew begins walk up launch tower

The six-member NS-19 Blue Origin crew is beginning to ascend the launch tower to the New Shepard spacecraft.

NS-19 crew arrives at the launch pad

The NS-19 crew is now at Blue Origin’s Launch Pad One in Van Horn, Texas, getting ready to board the New Shepard spacecraft for launch.

Crew driving to launch pad

The six members of the NS-19 crew, including “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, is now driving to the launch pad. Also in one of the vehicles is Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who flew to space July 20 as part of the debut crew launch, called NS-16.

Crew emerges from training center

The NS-19 crew just emerged from the training center to get into their vehicle that will transport them to the launch pad.

New Shepard system on the pad ahead of NS-19 launch

The Blue Origin broadcast showed an early-morning view of the New Shepard system sitting ready on the pad, ahead of the planned liftoff of the NS-19 mission later this morning.

new shepard ns-19 on pad

(Image credit: Blue Origin)

Commemorative coin

Here’s an image of the commemorative mission coin that the NS-19 crew will take into space. It includes images of the Blue Origin symbol (a feather) and the New Shepard rocket.

blue origin coin

(Image credit: Blue Origin)

Key moments to watch for before launch

Key moments in today’s countdown to launch:

  • T-54 mins, ceremony during which crew receives commemorative coins
  • T-45 mins, crew departs the Astronaut Training Center and moves to the launch tower. 
  • T-33 mins, astronauts will load into the crew capsule. 
  • T-24 mins, capsule hatch close.
  • T-10 mins, Terminal Count Ready Report from Mission Control.

Robert Pearlman of collectSPACE on site

Robert Pearlman of collectSPACE, who is a long-time Space.com contributor, is reporting live from Van Horn. 

Here’s his first report on Twitter from the launch site: “Good morning from ‘s Launch Site One, where there is a #NewShepard rocket on the pad and a chill in the air! Launch preparations are underway for an 8:45 a.m. CST liftoff with the #NS19 crew. @BlueOrigin

Tribute for Glen de Vries

Blue Origin ran a short tribute video (available below) for Glen de Vries, a participant in the company’s NS-18 spaceflight with “Star Trek” star William Shatner. De Vries died in a plane crash in November. 

Weather is good for launch

Blue Origin’s webcast just said that weather is looking good for launch.

Blue Origin’s webcast is live

Blue Origin’s live launch webcast for today’s NS-19 New Shepard mission has begun. You can watch it in the window at the top of this page. 

Meet Blue Origin’s NS-19 crew

Blue Origin has released a new video showcasing New Shepard’s NS-19 crew and you can watch it here. 

The NS-19 mission will launch Good Morning America host and former NFL star Michael Strahan on a suborbital trip with five crewmates, including Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of the late Alan Shepard, one of NASA’s Mercury 7 astronauts who was the first American to fly in space and later walked on the moon. 

“I kind of feel like a little bit like I’m following in my father’s footsteps,” Churchley says in the video. 

“The moment that I decided I would be willing to go was here,” Strahan says, referring to when he covered Blue Origin’s first crewed launch with Jeff Bezos aboard for Good Morning America earlier this year. “Watching Jeff and Mark Bezos completely changed my mind. It was amazing.”

Dylan Taylor, one of the four paying passengers, says going to space has been a lifelong dream, while another passenger, Evan Dick, says he’d hoped to work in aerospace when he was younger and is catching up for lost time with this flight. 

Father-child duo of Lane and Cameron Bess — also paying passengers — round out the crew. 

“When it became real, I went up to the family and said ‘Who wants to go?’ and the only person who raised their hand was Cameron,” Lane says. “We weren’t thinking  about it being first father and child so much as it being an opportunity to experience it together.”

“It’s certainly an honor to be one of the first LGTBQ+ people in space,” Cameron, who is pansexual, says in the video. “You know I’m now hero. I didn’t really work to go space, but I do think that the visibility that I’m providing for that community is valuable.”

It’s Launch Day for Blue Origin’s NS-19

The six passengers of Blue Origin's NS-19 flight, from left: Dylan Taylor, Lane and Cameron Bess, Laura Shepard Churchley, Michael Strahan and Evan Dick.

The six passengers of Blue Origin’s NS-19 flight, from left: Dylan Taylor, Lane and Cameron Bess, Laura Shepard Churchley, Michael Strahan and Evan Dick. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

It’s launch day for Blue Origin’s NS-19 mission aboard New Shepard, which will liftoff off at 9:45 a.m. EST (1445 GMT) to carry Good Morning America host and former NFL player Michael Strahan and five others on a suborbital trip to space. 

The six New Shepard crewmembers are at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One near Van Horn, Texas for today’s launch. They’re staying at Blue Origin’s Astronaut Village, where they’re flight has been delayed since Dec. 9 due to high winds and weather. 

Blue Origin’s webcast begn at 8:15 a.m. EST (1315 GMT) and you can watch it in the feed above.

Flying aboard the New Shepard vehicle with Strahan will be:

  • Laura Shepard Churchley, 74, the eldest daughter of NASA astronaut Alan Shepard. Shepard was the first NASA astronaut to fly in space, and the New Shepard spacecraft is named after him.
  • Dylan Taylor, 51, chairman and CEO of the space exploration firm Voyager Space, founder of the nonprofit Space for Humanity, and co-founding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
  • Evan Dick, age not disclosed, an engineer and investor who is a volunteer pilot for Starfighters Aerospace.
  • Lane Bess, age not disclosed, principal and founder of a technology-focused venture fund called Bess Ventures and Advisory.
  • Cameron Bess, age not disclosed, who is a child of Lane. They stream variety content on Twitch under the alias MeepsKitten.

We’ll have live coverage of the countdown and launch here. 

Read More: Michael Strahan’s Blue Origin Launch on New Shepard: Live updates

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