We’re counting down the days as “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan prepares for liftoff in the Blue Origin New Shepard on Thursday.
“I’ve done a lot of training camp — but this is definitely some training like no other down here,” he said after more than a decade reporting to training camp in the NFL.
T-minus 2 days until launch
Strahan gets his badge, picks the personal items he’s bringing to space.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience, of course, you want to have your most prized possessions and meaningful belongings with you,” Strahan said on “GMA” Wednesday morning. “I am taking — my retired Giants jersey, my Hall of Fame ring, my Super Bowl ring, some special watches and the most special thing to me when my father passed away and had his military funeral,” the shell casings that he said were fired from the gun, “I’m taking those with me to outer space.”
Strahan continued, “My dad was a paratrooper and, you know, hopefully I’m staying in the ship. He jumped out of planes but it makes me feel closer to him so I love my dad and that’s for my pops.”
He added that he’s bringing his grandfather’s pocket watch that was given to him by his mom to get repaired, but Strahan thought, “I had to keep it to bring it with me to space before I get it repaired.”
Each passenger has a three-pound weight limit and the bags packed by Blue Origin have already been loaded onto the capsule, Strahan said. “When we get back to Earth each item we brought on board will get a special certificate saying it’s traveled to outer space. It’s really cool.”
Strahan got his first look inside the Kármán Line, a gathering spot for Blue Origin astronauts and their plus ones meant to resemble a restaurant where the Apollo and Mercury 7 astronauts would hang out.
After a full day of training from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Strahan received his official badge along with two important phrases to use if he feels unsafe or uncomfortable and wants to get out.
“We want you to say ‘time-out’,” Blue Origin Crewmember 7 Sarah Knights said, or “‘I will not fly.’ This is a phrase we hope to never hear from a New Shepard astronaut.”
Strahan and the other Blue Origin astronauts have until t-minus 2 minutes and 30 seconds before liftoff to utter those words. After that the vehicle controls itself and the Blue Origin team said it can be risky to stop the program.
“It’s been a lot of fun, a great learning experience and I’m a little nervous,” Strahan said after training. “I mean you always get nervous but when you learn about the safety and protocols that put you at ease.”
Strahan also met his fellow crew and Kevin Sproge, Blue Origin’s Crewmember 7 in charge of training, for hands-on training and stepped inside the fully accurate representation test capsule.
“Some points it’s over 100 decibels, but we have custom-made earpieces — [so] it’s easily manageable,” Strahan said. “We had to learn how to listen to the ground control and how to push our buttons and respond to ground control. What all the lights mean so we know certain protocols to do if things happen, the oxygen masks like you’re getting on a commercial airline, so there’s so many different things. Where all the cameras were, which is important because that’s how you get your selfies. So you got to learn all these different things, but it was a full day of learning here and it’s an experience like no other I’ve ever had.”
T-minus 3 days until launch
Monday was Strahan’s first day of training in Van Horn, Texas, which he said “is sure to be action-packed.”
The former New York Giants star said he’s feeling “a lot more nervous” now that he’s arrived in astronaut village, but that he’s “well-rested, ready to go and excited.”
With his customized flight suit fitted and ready to go, Strahan found his seat assignment inside the capsule where he will be strapped in next to five fellow crewmates and soon-to-be Blue Origin astronauts.
“As you walk into the hatch, directly to your left is seat number one, and it goes all the way around clockwise to seat six,” Sproge told “GMA.” “The first time they go in the capsule for their training, their name tags and patches will be on their seats and that’s where they’ll see where they’re going to be sitting.”
Talking about the systems on the capsule and the flight itself, Sproge said that day one of training will help Strahan get comfortable “with the capsule itself and the environment that they’re going to be in.”
“What is the flight profile? What are the sounds they’re going to hear? What is it going to feel like? And then we start walking them through the flight,” he said.
Sarah Knights, who has worked alongside Sproge as Blue Origin Crewmember 7 added, “we want them to be incredibly comfortable with every little thing even to the point where they know they’re going to know exactly where each of the cameras is inside of the vehicle so they can plan out any photos that they want to take and get really ready for what that journey will look like as they go up.”
As Strahan prepares to pack his three pounds of allotted items, he said, “there are no cell phones inside the capsule.” So while snapping an out-of-this-world selfie is out of the question, Strahan adjusted, saying, “now I have to learn where all those cameras are inside of the capsule so I can plan out my photos.”
This story was originally published on Dec. 6, 2021.