Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard’s daughter will have to wait a little longer to take a ride on the suborbital spaceship that’s named after her father.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has delayed its next New Shepard mission until Saturday, due to concerns about forecasted winds on Thursday — the date that was originally set for Laura Shepard Churchley’s launch. Her late father was the first American in space in 1961, and his suborbital spaceflight was the inspiration for New Shepard’s name.
Five other spacefliers will be waiting alongside Churchley for the suborbital trip at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas: Michael Strahan, a co-anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America”; Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and Cameron Bess, the first parent-and-child duo to go into space together; and two business executives, Evan Dick and Dylan Taylor. Churchley and Strahan are flying as Blue Origin’s guests, while the others are paying an undisclosed fare.
“The team has completed Flight Readiness Review and confirmed the vehicle has met all mission requirements for launch,” Blue Origin spokesperson Sara Blask said today in an email. “Astronauts will complete training today and weather remains the only gating factor for launch.”
Liftoff is now set for 8:45 a.m. CT (6:45 a.m. PT) on Saturday. Live launch coverage is due to begin on Blue Origin’s website and YouTube at T-minus-90 minutes. Further updates will be passed along via Blue Origin’s Twitter account.
This will be the third crewed suborbital spaceflight for Blue Origin — coming after the first trip (with Bezos among the spacefliers) in July, and a flight featuring Star Trek captain William Shatner in October.