Virgin Galactic takes three to edge of space on first tourism flight

Virgin Galactic takes three to edge of space on first tourism flight By A Robin - August 13, 2023
Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic has successfully launched its first space tourism flight, sending three passengers to the edge of space.

For the first time, a mother-daughter duo flew into space, after winning a coveted place in a prize draw.

Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her daughter, Anastatia Mayers, 18, who is studying physics and philosophy at Britain's University of Aberdeen, were joined by an 80-year-old former Olympian with Parkinson's disease.

Jon Goodwin, from the British city of Newcastle, became the first Olympian - and only the second person with Parkinson's - to go into space.

He secured his seat as the company's first paying customer 18 years ago, after buying a $250,000 ticket.

The mothership VMS Eve took off from New Mexico.

After reaching the necessary altitude, VSS Unity was released and a short time later, the passengers were given the all-clear to unbuckle by the instructor and enjoy zero gravity for a few minutes while observing the curvature of the Earth and the black of space.

As soon as they unbuckled, all three passengers were keen to get a view out of the nearest window, watching Earth drop away as they continued to ascend.

They then returned to their seats and strapped themselves back in ahead of the return journey.

In June, Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully completed the company's first commercial spaceflight, taking Italian astronauts into space to conduct a number of scientific experiments.

If all goes well, Branson's company will begin offering monthly trips to customers on its winged space plane, joining Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX in the space tourism business.

By A Robin - August 13, 2023

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