The daughter of America’s first astronaut Alan Shepard has flown to space 60 years after her father’s flight. Laura Shepard Churchley, 74, was one of six people aboard a commercial spacecraft launched by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company. The passengers on the sub-orbital flight briefly experienced zero gravity. This flight is the third flight launched by Blue Origin in 2021.
Blue Origin wants to establish its foothold in the new industry of space tourism. Shepard Churchley’s father died in 1998. He became the first American to go into space on May 5, 1961, after taking off on his Mercury flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Four other paying customers were also on Saturday’s flight, including former NFL star and Good Morning America anchor Michael Strahan.
Jeff Bezos welcomes tourists
Blue Origin has managed to fill all six seats on its New Shepard rocket for the first time ever. This rocket was named after Alan Shepard. After a two-day delay due to strong winds, the rocket finally took off from the company’s launch site near the rural town of Van Horn, Texas. The rocket landed in the Texas desert where the company’s owner Jeff Bezos himself was present to welcome the space tourist.
Shepard retired from NASA in 1974
Last month, Prince William criticized the activities of space tourism companies such as Blue Origin, warning that their activities were raising “climate concern” among younger generations. Alan Shepard, who was part of the Apollo 14 mission, stepped on the Moon in February 1971. Shepard retired from NASA in 1974. After this he started working in banking and real estate. He died of leukemia in 1998. He was 74 years old.