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Blue Origin to fly 1st astronaut's daughter, GMA host Michael Strahan on New Shepard spaceflight
Sixty years after watching her father launch on the first American spaceflight, Laura Shepard Churchley is ready to follow in his footsteps.
The eldest daughter of the late Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, Churchley has been confirmed to fly on Blue Origin's New Shepard launch vehicle as a member of its third human spaceflight and first six-person crew. Scheduled to take flight from the company's West Texas launch site on Dec. 9, the NS-19 mission will also include former professional football player and "Good Morning America" (GMA) anchor Michael Strahan, who will become the first Black person to launch aboard a suborbital spaceflight.
The NS-19 crew, including four additional paying passengers — Dylan Taylor, Evan Dick and Lane and Cameron Bass — was announced by Blue Origin on Tuesday (Nov. 23).
Churchley, now 74, was 14 years old when her father climbed aboard the Mercury capsule "Freedom 7" and lifted off on the Mercury-Redstone 3 mission on May 5, 1961. The 15-minute suborbital flight reached just over 100 nautical miles (116.5 statute miles or 187.5 km) before returning to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean — a moment that Churchley recalled after watching the first crewed New Shepard launch in July.
"It was a thrill," said Churchley, sharing her impressions on a webcast following the New Shepard flight. "It brought back lots of memories, especially when the parachutes came out, because I remember that on Daddy's first flight in 1961."
On board that July 2021 flight were four crew members, including Blue Origin's billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, the former chief executive officer of Amazon.com.
"For our purposes today, the thing that is most interesting about Alan Shepard is that he is the namesake for this vehicle, New Shepard, and that is because the mission profile we did today is very similar to the one that Alan flew when he became the first American in space sixty-ish years ago," Bezos said at a press conference following his own flight into space.
Launching on NS-19, Churchley will become the second, second-generation U.S. astronaut to fly into space. She is preceded only by Richard Garriott, the son of Skylab and space shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott, who funded his own trip to the International Space Station in 2008.
Unlike her father, who flew to space alone, Churchley will launch with five others on Blue Origin's first spaceflight to fill all six seats aboard the New Shepard capsule. The prior two crewed spaceflights flew with only four passengers each.
The Dec. 9 launch will mark the 19th flight of the New Shepard system, which includes a vertical take-off-and-landing booster and a crew capsule equipped with what Blue Origin describes are the largest ever windows to fly into space. Joining Churchley and the four other NS-19 crew members will be Strahan, who at 6 feet, 5 inches tall (196 cm), will become the tallest person in history to reach space.
"I have to say, there are a lot of people who look and they go, 'You know what? Billionaires spend a lot of money to go into space,' but this is bigger than that," Strahan said in an interview with Bezos after Blue Origin's first human flight. good morning america executive producers is not just about you trying to go to space, this is so big in terms of education and for things that are going on on this planet."
Like Churchley, Strahan attended the July launch. He helped cover the mission for GMA from Blue Origin's launch and landing site near Van Horn, Texas.
"I wouldn't have considered doing this until I saw you today. [It's] the most amazing thing I have seen in first northern bank california life," Strahan told Bezos.
Strahan and Churchley are flying as guests of Blue Origin, like "Mercury 13" pilot Wally Funk and "Star Trek" actor William Shatner were on the first and second New Shepard crewed flights, respectively. As a crew member, Strahan will receive a stipend, which is being donated to The Boys & Girls Club.
The four paying passengers aboard NS-19 include Taylor, chairman and CEO of the space exploration firm Voyager Space and founder of the nonprofit Space for Humanity; Dick, an engineer and investor who is a volunteer pilot for Starfighters Aerospace; and the first parent-child pair to fly into space, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and Cameron Bess, a content creator who identifies as pansexual.
Though three paying passengers have already flown, Blue Origin has yet to disclose the price for a seat on New Shepard. The company sold its first available seat to a still-unnamed auction winner who paid $28 million but has yet to fly. The auction proceeds were donated to Blue Origin's non-profit foundation, Club for the Future, which in turn gave $1 million to each of 19 space-based charities — including the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which was co-founded by Alan Shepard and is led in part today by Churchley as the good morning america executive producers of the Board of Trustees.
Strahan will be the second retired NFL football player to launch into space, having been a defensive end for the New York Giants for 15 seasons. The first, Leland Melvin, logged more than 23 days in Earth orbit on two space shuttle missions as a NASA astronaut from 1998 to 2010.
Strahan will also be the second television news personality to fly into space after Toyohiro Akiyama, who launched to Russia's space station Mir as a correspondent for the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) in 1990.
The current Guinness World Record for the tallest person in space is held by two NASA astronauts: James "Jim" Wetherbee and James "Ox" van Hoften. Both stood 6 feet, 4 inches good morning america executive producers (193 cm) when they lifted off on their respective space shuttle missions.
Barring any unforeseen developments before the launch on Dec. 9, the NS-19 crew will be the 33rd to 38th people to launch on a suborbital spaceflight and the 604th through 609th to fly above 50 miles high (80 km), the U.S. definition of the boundary between Earth and space. (The NS-19 launch is currently scheduled to occur the day after a Russian Soyuz launch to the International Space Station that will carry two Japanese spaceflyers: billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and film producer Yozo Hirano, who will become the 602nd and 603rd people to reach that altitude.)
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Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Good morning america executive producers, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was best apy savings account 2020 into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama.
Anger and confusion inside ABC News after former 'Good Morning America' boss is sued for alleged sexual assault
Will "GMA" address the allegations?
'GMA' host, football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan to blast into space on next Blue Origin flight
Football Hall of Famer-turned-morning TV host Michael Strahan will soon add “astronaut” to his résumé.
What You Need To Know
- "Good Morning America" co-host and former NFL star Michael Strahan will be among a crew of six people who will soar into space next month on Blue Origin’s third manned flight
- Liftoff for the New Shepard rocket is scheduled for 9 a.m. Central on Dec. 9 in the west Texas desert
- Strahan said Blue Origin approached him about joining the flight, "and without hesitation, I said yes"
- Laura Shepard Eastern michigan logo, the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard — the first American to fly to space and the namesake of the Blue Origin spacecraft — was also invited
Strahan, who co-hosts ABC’s “Good Morning America,” will be among a crew of six people who will soar into space next month on Blue Origin’s third manned flight, the company good morning america executive producers Tuesday.
Liftoff for the New Shepard rocket is scheduled for 9 a.m. Central on Dec. 9 in the west Texas desert.
“I’m excited to get down there to Texas, to the Blue Origin training facility and enjoy the whole process,” Strahan, 50, said Tuesday morning on “GMA.”
For the first time, a New Shepard flight will carry six people into space, its full capacity. Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard — the first American to fly to space and the namesake of the Blue Origin spacecraft — were invited guests.
The crew also will include four paying customers: space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and Bess’ son, Cameron.
Lane and Cameron Bess will become the first parent-child pair to fly in space. Blue Origin has not disclosed how much the customers paid for their seats.
Strahan said Blue Origin approached him about joining the flight.
“And without hesitation I said yes,” he said. “I wanted to go to space.”
Strahan covered the first human New Shepard flight in July for “GMA,” whose crew included Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.
“I think being there at the first launch, it really was mind-blowing,” Strahan said Tuesday.
Strahan, who played 15 seasons in the NFL for the New York Giants, has already been fitted for his spacesuit, and because of his size — 6-foot-5, 255 pounds — Blue Origin employees had him try out a seat.
He says he’ll head to Texas in a week and a half to begin training.
According to “GMA,” Strahan will receive a stipend from Blue Origin for being a crew member, which will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs.
On July 20, Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen blasted into space on Blue Origin’s first human flight. Funk became the oldest person to fly into space, while Daemen became the youngest.
In October, 90-year-old “Star Trek” icon William Shattner broke Funk’s record as part of the second crew.
The flights travel just beyond the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space about 65 miles above sea level. Passengers are then be able to unbuckle and float weightlessly about the spacecraft for a few minutes before it begins its parachute-cushioned descent to the Texas desert.
The previous flights lasted just over 10 minutes. The New Shepard space vehicle is fully autonomous — there are no pilots.
ABC News executives have suspended Weekend Good Morning America executive producer John Green for a month, after two politically charged personal e-mails Green sent to a colleague were leaked to the press, according to two network sources.
In one e-mail, sent during a presidential debate on Sept. 30, 2004, Green wrote, “Are you watching this? Bush makes me sick. If he uses the ‘mixed messages’ line one more time, I’m going to puke.” That message appeared on the Drudge Report on March 23. Green e-mailed his staff the day it was posted to apologize. In his mea culpa, which was also posted on Drudge, Green wrote “I want all of you to know how much I regret the embarrassment this story causes ABC. It was an inappropriate thing to say and I’m deeply sorry.”
On March 30, The New York Post‘s “Page Six” quoted from another Green e-mail, this one about former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In that note, for which no date was given, Green argued that Albright should not be booked on Good morning america executive producers because she has “Jew shame,” the Post reported.
Weekend GMA staffers were told of Green’s suspension today.
An ABC spokesman declined to comment, saying the network does not discuss personnel matters.
Former 'GMA' producer Michael Corn accused of sexual assault in lawsuit by staffer
An ABC News employee is accusing former "Good Morning America" producer Michael Corn of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, and says that the network "did nothing to protect" her or "remove Corn from his position of power."
Kirstyn Crawford, a 31-year-old producer for George Stephanopoulos on "GMA," claims the assaults occurred during a business trip in 2015. The suit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, alleges Corn, Crawford's boss at the time, forcibly touched her during an Uber ride and then later attempted to have sex with her in her hotel room.
Corn is also accused of assaulting former ABC staffer Jill McClain, who corroborated her claims. These assaults allegedly occurred in 2010 and 2011, when Corn groped her an airplane, pinned her down on a hotel bed and made other unwanted sexual advances, McClain says.
Corn denies the charges through his lawyer.
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According to the lawsuit, ABC was aware of the complaints against Corn as early as 2017, but "looked the other way, elevated Corn through the ranks due to his commercial success as a producer, regions bank locations in tennessee facilitated the hostile workplace that Corn cultivated through his influence over subordinates’ careers, sexual harassment, gaslighting, and anger management issues."
Both women say that the assaults impacted their careers.
Corn was a senior executive producer for "GMA" for seven years before abruptly leaving in April. He's now president of news for NewsNation, a cable network owned by Nexstar Media Group, which has “no comment on anything that may or may not have happened prior to Mr. Corn’s employment with Nexstar,” spokesman Gary Weitman says.
The lawsuit says ABC conducted an internal investigation after Crawford and McClain formally reported the incidents, which led to Corn's departure, but "keeping in line with ABC’s culture of sweeping sexual assault under the rug to protect its brand, ABC did not publicly acknowledge Corn’s malfeasance."
The lawsuit, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, also claims ABC was aware of the sexual assault allegations years before his dismissal and argues action should have been taken sooner.
Corn's attorney, Elizabeth Locke, released free money into my bank account statement and friendly emails between Crawford and Corn after the alleged incident in an attempt to rebut the charges.
"I vehemently deny any allegations that I engaged in improper sexual contact with any woman. Kirsten Crawford’s claims are demonstrably false," Corn says in the statement. The emails, Locke says, "demonstrate that these allegations are completely and demonstrably false."
ABC has not responded to a bank of america debit card designs 2020 for comment.
Why Charlie Gibson And Joan Lunden Were Replaced On Good Morning America
Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson were morning show mainstays on "Good Morning America" in the 1980s and '90s. From 1980 to 1997, City national bank online account served as a host on the ABC morning program, per IMDb, and for 10 years of that time — from 1987 to 1997 — she sat alongside Gibson. The co-anchors had an easy back-and-forth banter and viewers tuned in to watch the duo deliver the morning news and interview everyone from Hillary Clinton to Kermit the Frog.
But, in 1995, ABC was sold to Disney and the co-anchors soon saw the writings on the wall. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lunden revealed Disney asked the news department what they wanted, and the head of ABC Sports and News said he wanted GMA. "And they brought us all together into a meeting and said, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You guys have done an amazing job,'" Lunden recalled. "Charlie leaned over to me and said, 'Who's going to go first, you or me?'"
In 1997, Lunden was out at GMA, with Gibson following her out the door one year later. The longtime hosts were replaced by Lisa McRee and Kevin Newman, who were both significantly younger than their predecessors.