One Giant leap: Strahan set to be space tourist

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Pro Football Hall of Famer and “Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan is going to space next month.

Strahan, who turned 50 on Sunday, will join Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of late astronaut Alan Shepard, on the Dec. 9 mission aboard the New Shepard, a spacecraft named after her father, who was the first American in space.

The Blue Origin flight, the company headed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, will also carry four paying customers and will be the third by the New Shepard craft this year to shuttle humans to space.

Blue Origin has not disclosed the ticket price for paying customers.

The 10-minute flight, five minutes shorter than Alan Shepard’s 1961 Mercury flight, will launch from West Texas carrying six people, two more than the previous two flights this year with humans aboard.

Similar to previous jaunts, Strahan’s flight is likely to include about three minutes of weightlessness and a view of the curvature of the Earth. Passengers are subjected to nearly 6 G’s, or six times the force of Earth’s gravity, as the capsule descends.

Strahan reported on the first Blue Origin flight for “Good Morning America.”

“I want to go to space,” Strahan said on “GMA.” “I think being there at the first launch, it really was mind-blowing.”

Strahan played for 15 seasons in the National Football League with the New York Giants, who will retire his No. 92 on Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Eagles. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection had 141.5 sacks with the Giants, second in franchise history behind Lawrence Taylor, who had 142. He was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2001 when he set the single-season sacks record with 22.5.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Bezos and “Star Trek” star William Shatner flew to space on separate New Shepard flights this year. At 90, Shatner became the oldest person in space, eclipsing the previous record — set by a passenger on Bezos’ flight in July — by eight years.

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson went into space in his own rocket ship in July, followed by Bezos nine days later on Blue Origin’s first flight with a crew. Elon Musk’s SpaceX made its first private voyage in mid-September, although without Musk on board.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.