What Michael Strahan can expect at Blue Origin training ahead of space launch

The "GMA" co-anchor will report to Van Horn, Texas, for a three-day training.

December 1, 2021, 8:07 AM

Michael Strahan is preparing to try on a new suit and step into a different type of training regimen as he gets ready for his flight to space with Blue Origin.

On Sunday, the "Good Morning America" co-anchor and retired NFL star will report to Van Horn, Texas, to take part in a three-day training program with his five fellow crew members.

Strahan will join Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard, the first American to fly to space and the namesake of New Shepard, on the space flight. Space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, and Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and his child, Cameron, will also be part of the crew for New Shepard's 19th mission. Lane and Cameron Bess will become the first parent-child pair to fly in space.

The Dec. 9 mission will be the New Shepard rocket's third human flight this year and marks the first with a full astronaut manifest of six crew members in the capsule, according to the company.

Sarah Knights, one of Blue Origin's primary trainers who also serves as capsule communications between mission control and the soon-to-be-astronauts, is leading the preparations ahead of their space journey.

Liftoff is targeted for 9 a.m. Central Time on Thurs., Dec. 9 from the company’s Launch Site One facility in a remote area in the West Texas desert.

Recently, Strahan was fitted for the flight suit that he will wear every day starting Monday morning.

"All of our astronauts put on their flight suit every morning before training -- so on actual launch day, it just feels like an extension of their skin," Knights explained.

On the first day of training, the crew will be prepped on the basics of space flight, including a full flight simulation so they know what to expect.

"We cover each portion, every event from the engine start to lift off to separation from the booster itself to reentry in the atmosphere and landing," she said.

Once that wraps, Strahan will report to astronaut village, which is a cluster of refinished airstream trailers where he and fellow crew members will sleep, unwind and bond under the stars.

Day two will be a full rehearsal where they will drive to the launch site and practice walking on the tower, and see the actual rocket and capsule for their flight.

"They'll learn radio communications with Capcom, how to talk with mission control," Knights said.

Strahan was fitted previously for his flight seat, and on Tuesday they will all practice getting in and out of said seat to prepare for floating in zero gravity so he can fully enjoy the out-of-this-world views.

Knights said "when you sit down in the seat here on Earth, it's relatively simple," but "when you're in space, you have to learn different ways to secure yourself" since you're in zero gravity.

"There is a move-in the belt buckle, and they will grab it around their shoulder, hold it close to them and then gently roll into the seat," she explained.

For the third and final day of training, it's all about building the astronauts' confidence so they are ready for anything.

"We run them through a number of back-to-back new Shepard missions," Knights said, referencing the ship by name. "So this is where most of the astronauts say that they start to feel like real astronauts."

Between now and Sunday, Blue Origin said Strahan can continue to live his usual life exercising, hydrating and getting good rest.

The main focus of his should be his space plan and putting intention into how he wants his time in space.

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