VAN HORN, Texas — This is certainly Michael Strahan’s most memorable touchdown.
The former NFL defensive star and Pro Football Hall of Famer rocketed into space Saturday morning with five other passengers, including the eldest daughter of America’s first astronaut.
After several short delays, the Blue Origin spacecraft lifted off from the company’s launch facilities near Van Horn, Texas, at 10:01 a.m. EST.
Blue Origin reached an apogee of 351,225 feet before beginning its descent back to Earth. The capsule landed safely in a puff of smoke 10 minutes after liftoff.
Strahan hugged Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos after emerging from the capsule. Bezos opened the capsule door after the crew landed.
Strahan, 50, who currently is a co-host on “Good Morning America,” was originally supposed to ride onto the cusp of space on Thursday, but the flight with five other passengers was delayed due to high winds, USA Today reported.
Joining Strahan on the 10-minute trip into space was Laura Shepard Churchley, the oldest daughter of America’s first astronaut, Alan Shepard.
Four paying passengers included include Dylan Taylor, a space industry executive and philanthropist; Evan Dick, an investor; Lane Bess, Bess Ventures founder; and Cameron Bess, Lane Bess’ child, according to “Good Morning America.” Lane Bess and Cameron Bess became the first parent and child to fly into space together.
The flight was Blue Origin’s third passenger voyage since it began to launch in July. Bezos flew on the first flight, and William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame became the oldest passenger to blast in space when the 90-year-old actor took off into space on Oct. 13.
It was the first time company filled all six seats on its New Shepard rocket and capsule, CNN reported.
Talking about the zero gravity, Strahan said it was not a face lift but a “face drop.”
“Now I know what I am going to look like when I’m 85,” he said.
Strahan, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, played defensive end for the New York Giants from 1993 to 2007. He collected 141.5 sacks in 216 games and was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. He played in two Super Bowls, after the 2000 and 2007 seasons. The Giants lost 34-7 to Baltimore in Super Bowl XXXV and defeated the previously unbeaten New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII.
He had four interceptions and recovered 15 fumbles during his NFL career. He had two interception returns for touchdowns and also returned a fumble for a score.
©2021 Cox Media Group