After Youngest and Oldest, Blue Origin Will Fly the Tallest Person in Space Next – Sissi Cao

Blue Origin is apparently on a track to set a new Guinness World Record every time it launches a New Shepard rocket. After featuring the youngest and the oldest person (twice!) in space in previous suborbital flights, Blue Origin’s next mission will create the record of the tallest person in space.

The Jeff Bezos-led space company announced Tuesday that on December 9 it will launch a six-person mission to the edge of space featuring former New York Giants player and Good Morning America host Michael Strahan, along with the daughter of the first American astronaut and four paying customers.

The flight, numbered NS-19, is scheduled to lift off on the morning of December 9 from Blue Origin’s launch facilities near the rural town of Van Horn, Texas.

Strahan, standing six feet and five inches, will be the tallest person to ever go to space. During a segment on Good Morning America Tuesday, Strahan said Blue Origin had him measured for his space suit and test out one of the seats on the New Shepard capsule to make sure he’d fit.

Wally Funk, the 82-year-old American aviation pioneer who flew with three other people on Blue Origin’s maiden flight in July, said the New Shepard capsule didn’t have enough room for all four passengers to move around while in space. Strahan will have even less legroom, because the December flight will have six passengers, marking the first time Blue Origin fills all seats on the New Shepard spacecraft.

Strahan will be joined by Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of the first American astronaut Alan Shepard, whom the New Shepard rocket is named after.

Passengers with a special story to tell also get to fly for free. Blue Origin said Strahan and Shepard Churchley will be “honorary guests,” while the other four passengers have to pay for their rides. The four paying customers are investors Dylan Taylor, Evan Dick, Lane Bess and his adult child, Cameron Bess.

Blue Origin set the record of sending the oldest person to space after its maiden flight in July with Funk. Her record was obliterated three months later by Star War actor William Shatner after he flew on Blue Origin’s second mission. Both Funk and Shatner were invited as honorary guests and didn’t have to pay for their tickets.

Also on the July flight was the youngest person in space, Oliver Daemen. Daemen didn’t ride for free because he was added to the crew at the last minute to replace his father, Joes Daemen, who paid $28 million for a seat on the flight but couldn’t make the trip due to scheduling conflicts.

Joes Daemen, a hedge fund billionaire, bought his ticket through an online auction. It’s unclear how much a New Shepard seat “retails” for. Hollywood star Tom Hanks—who is neither the oldest nor the tallest in aerospace history—said in a late night talk show recently that Bezos had invited him to fly on the October mission but only on the condition that he pay.

“It costs like $28 million or something like that,” Hanks said on an episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” earlier this month. “And I’m doing good, Jimmy—I’m doing good—but I ain’t paying $28 [million] bucks.”

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