Dylan Taylor moved to Moscow in elementary school after his father got a job at the University of Idaho. A self-proclaimed “Star Trek” fan since his early days on the Palouse, Taylor has always equated going to space with a dream.
Taylor, now 51, made the dream come true last month when he reached space as a member of the six-person crew of the Blue Origin New Shepard Mission, which included the host of “Good Morning America” and former NFL player Michael Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space.
The December 11 flight lasted less than an hour and followed several days of preparation in flight simulators.
“Overall, it was the most profound experience of my life,” Taylor, a Moscow high school graduate, wrote on his blog about the trip. “I have always thought of Space as a tool for transformation.”
Investor Evan Dick and the first-ever parent-child couple in space, Lane Bess and Cameron Bess, joined Taylor, Strahan and Shepard Churchley on the flight.
Taylor now lives in Denver with her family and is the CEO of Voyager Space, a global space exploration company founded in 2019.
“I’ve always wanted to go (to space), but you know, that’s like saying, I want to play in the NFL or I want to be President of the United States, isn’t it. It’s like a crazy, impossible goal,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he paid for the chance to join the mission, but was not allowed to split the cost of a ticket.
Prior to her flight, Taylor challenged other commercial astronauts to donate their ticket price to causes they deem worthy here on Earth. The program is called “buy one, give one” and in a blog post, Taylor said he was donating to four groups: Astro Access, which aims to advance disability inclusion in space exploration; Edesia Nutrition, which works to eradicate malnutrition and hunger in the world; the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, which helps African Americans enter the space industry; and the Brooke Owens Fellowship, which supports women and non-binary people with internships at aerospace companies.
Taylor graduated from Moscow High School in 1988 and was the senior class president. After graduating, he attended the University of Arizona for his undergraduate degree.
“(Moscow) was warm and generous and set me up for future success,” Taylor said. “I have very fond memories of my childhood in Moscow.”
Taylor said he came back occasionally to plan high school reunions and was grateful for the experience of growing up on the Palouse.
In addition to his role with Voyager Space, Taylor is the founder of the nonprofit Space for Humanity, which aims to democratize future space exploration.