With astronaut Michael Strahan safely back on Earth, the "Good Morning America" co-anchor returned to Times Square on Tuesday and shared details from his journey to the edge of space saying he's "come back with a different appreciation of my life."
"Whatever you think it's going to be -- and you set your standards high -- it exceeds it," Strahan told Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and TJ Holmes. "Something about when you take off in that rocket and the energy of it, when you hit the point where you're weightless, and undo your harness and float and with these people you developed this bond with -- it's the ultimate bond."
The six person crew for New Shepard's 19th mission included Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of the first American in space Alan Shepard, space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, and Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and his child, Cameron.
Strahan hailed Blue Origin for doing "a great job of training" them and said that since they rehearsed things so many times "so when it's actually happening it feels like we've done this before." But emphasized that "you're still surprised by all of it -- the G forces when you're going up and coming down, the glow in the cabin when the rocket takes off and it gets orange inside from the fire of the engine."
He continued, "Once the rocket main engine cuts off it's just silence" and Strahan said he realized "'oh my goodness I'm actually floating.'"
"Pretty soon you're in darkness and looking down at the light of the planet. And it shows you how fragile and how small the part of you are of something that may seem significant, like Earth, but Earth is fragile and small itself in the grand scheme of things," Strahan said. "So it kind of sets your perspective in a totally different way."
The aerospace company says they use reusable rockets with zero carbon emissions and Strahan said he returned with a greater understanding of their efforts after "sitting with the engineers and former astronauts -- who literally have been there several times and said their whole life mission is to make it back."
"What they're doing is trying to, you know, looking at taking all these resources and all these industries that stress Earth and moving a lot of them to space. Because, you know, we are kind of tapping out and maxing out what we are doing here," Strahan said. "What they're doing is in a lot of ways is trying to save the planet by going outside of the planet."
Strahan, who had his mother, kids and other close friends waiting to congratulate him in West Texas after the launch, said the journey was a catalyst for a new outlook on life.
"You think about life, about death, about the people in your life and what they mean to you, what you mean to them and your place in the ecosystem and how many people depend on you and how many you love and depend on," he said. "I really come back with a different appreciation of my life and hopefully I can live it in a better way now."
Finally, when asked about a return trip, Strahan said -- "absolutely, ask me and I would go back in a heartbeat. I wouldn't even think twice about it."