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Daughter of first American in space on next Blue Origin flight

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Jeff Bezos' space company announced Tuesday its third crewed flight will take launch on December 9, from Blue's base in West Texas./AFP
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Nov 24, 2021 - 01:19 AM

WASHINGTON — Sixty years after her father’s historic flight, she too will cross the final frontier: Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of the first American in space Alan Shepard, will be one of six passengers on Blue Origin’s next flight.

Jeff Bezos’ space company announced Tuesday its third crewed flight will launch on December 9, from Blue’s base in West Texas.

Churchley and American television personality Michael Strahan, who co-hosts “Good Morning America,” are guests on the voyage — a roughly 10-minute round-trip to the internationally-recognized boundary of space, and back again.

The other four are paying customers: space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess, and Cameron Bess. Lane and Cameron Bess will become the first parent-child pair to fly in space.

Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket is called New Shepard, in honor of pioneering NASA astronaut Alan Shepard.

“It’s kind of fun for me to say an original Shepard will fly on the New Shepard,” said Shepard Churchley, who runs a foundation that promotes science and raises funds for college students, in a video.

“I’m very proud of my father’s legacy.”

Alan Shepard performed a 15-minute space flight on May 5, 1961, 23 days after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space.

Shepard, who died in 1998, went on to be the fifth of twelve men to have set foot on the Moon.

Previous Blue Origin flights have flown the company’s billionaire founder Bezos as well as Star Trek actor William Shatner to space.

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