Bezos’ Blue Origin brings NFL legend Michael Strahan into space

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Michael Strahan could soon be the only person in history to have both sacked Tom Brady and visited space.

The NFL Hall of Famer and Good Morning America co-host announced Tuesday that it will take Blue Origin’s third manned spaceflight to the edge of space on December 9th.

Blue Origin, Amazon’s aerospace company AMZN, -0.28% founder Jeff Bezos, will launch a crew of six on its 10-minute flight from West Texas next month, including Laura Shepard Churchley, the astronaut’s eldest daughter Alan Shepard – the first American to fly into space. In fact, Blue Origin’s reusable suborbital rocket, the New Shepard, was named after its father.

While Strahan and Shepard Churchley are Blue Origin’s “Guests of Honor” on this flight, which means they get a free ride, the four remaining crew members paid for the flight. These include: venture capitalist Lane Bess and his son Cameron, who will be the first parent-child couple to fly into space; Investor and engineer Evan Dick; and Voyager Space CEO Dylan Taylor, the company announced.

Blue Origin hasn’t revealed how much a ticket will cost, but to get a baseball figure, rival Virgin Galactic SPCE + 1.78% is charging $ 450,000 for a seat on its SpaceShipTwo. A report estimates the global suborbital transportation and space tourism market will reach $ 2.58 billion by 2031.

Related: Tom Hanks to Jeff Bezos: “I’m not paying $ 28 million” to fly Blue Origin

It is the latest step in the billionaires race that kicked off private space exploration this year, beginning with Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson launching the first private passenger flight into space on July 11th. Afterward, Bezos joined Blue Origin’s first manned spaceflight a few days later, which Strahan covered for ABC.

Tesla TSLA, + 0.71% founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX made its first private space flight in September, even though Musk was not on board. SpaceX’s Inspiration4 flight flew higher than Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin’s excursions, and the journey took three days as opposed to around 10 minutes.

Billionaire’s Space Race: While Jeff Bezos is taking off, this is how his flight compares to Richard Branson’s trip

“I wanted to go into space,” said Strahan on Tuesday morning on “Good Morning America” as he talked about his upcoming trip. “I think being there at the first start was really amazing.”

When Bezos asked him to come along, Strahan said he said “without hesitation” to go.

When Star Trek star William Shatner flew into space on Blue Origin’s second manned flight in October, an emotional Shatner said, “Everyone in the world has to do this … It was amazing” after getting back on Earth had landed.

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Strahan shared footage of himself being fitted into his flight suit and testing the seat that his six-foot frame will be strapped to when he takes off in just 16 days.

“I believe this is the way to be innovative, creative and pioneering in aviation, now in space,” said Strahan. “And it will take a while, but I believe that it will bring us a lot of technological breakthroughs and innovations here on earth, and I just want to be a part of it.”

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