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The Margin: Michael Strahan’s Blue Origin space launch delayed until Saturday due to high winds

Michael Strahan could soon be the only person in history to have both sacked Tom Brady and visited space — he’s just gonna have to wait a few extra days.

The NFL Hall of Famer and “Good Morning America” co-host’s trip to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s third manned spaceflight has been pushed back due to high winds. 

Blue Origin, the aerospace company owned by Amazon
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founder Jeff Bezos, was scheduled to launch a crew of six people on its 10-minute flight from West Texas on Thursday. But the company tweeted Wednesday that the launch has been rescheduled for Saturday at 8:45 a.m. CT due to forecasted winds. “Weather is the only gating factor to get to launch,” the company added, as the New Shepard team has completed its “Flight Readiness Review,” and the vehicle is otherwise ready to lift off. 

Strahan tweeted that, “Even though the plans have changed the experience is still sweet!” He also shared some photos of Bezos’s “Astronaut Village” in West Texas.

The crew includes Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of astronaut Alan Shepard — the first American to go to space. In fact, Blue Origin’s reusable suborbital rocket, the New Shepard, was named for her father.

While Strahan and Shepard Churchley are Blue Origin’s “honorary guests” on this flight, meaning they’ll get a free ride, the four remaining crew members paid to be on the flight. They include: venture capitalist Lane Bess and his son Cameron, who will become the first parent-child pair to go to space; investor and engineer Evan Dick; and Voyager Space CEO Dylan Taylor, the company announced.

Blue Origin has not disclosed how much a ticket costs, but to get a ballpark figure, rival Virgin Galactic
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is charging $450,000 for a spot aboard its SpaceShipTwo. One report estimates that the global suborbital transportation and space tourism market will reach $2.58 billion in 2031.

Related: Tom Hanks to Jeff Bezos: ‘I ain’t paying 28 million bucks’ to fly Blue Origin

It’s the latest move in the billionaire space race that has seen private space exploration blast off this year, beginning with Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson launching the first private passenger flight to space on July 11. This was followed by Bezos joining Blue Origin’s first manned spaceflight a few days later, which Strahan covered for ABC.

Tesla
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founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX made its first private space flight in September, though Musk was not on board. SpaceX’s Inspiration4 flight flew higher than the Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin jaunts, and the trip was three days long, as opposed to 10 minutes or so.

Billionaire space race: As Jeff Bezos blasts off, here’s how his flight compares to Richard Branson’s trip

“I wanted to go to space,” Strahan said on “Good Morning America” last month, while discussing his upcoming trip. “I think being there at the first launch, it really was mind-blowing.”

So when Bezos asked him to come along for the ride, Strahan said he said yes “without hesitation.”

Indeed, when “Star Trek” star William Shatner flew to space aboard Blue Origin’s second manned flight in October, an emotional Shatner said, “everybody in the world needs to do this … It was unbelievable,” after touching back down on Earth.

Strahan shared footage of himself getting fitted into his flight suit, and testing out the seat his six-foot-five frame will be strapped into when he lifts off this weekend.

“I believe that this is the way of being innovative, creative, pioneers in aviation, now space travel,” Strahan said. “And it’s going to take a while but I do believe that it will bring a lot of technological breakthroughs and also innovations to us here on Earth, and I just want to be a part of it.”

This story has been updated to note that the Blue Origin launch has been delayed.

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