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Virgin Galactic to launch its first space tourism flight

The mission will take three passengers into sub-orbital space, where they will briefly experience weightlessness.


An 80-year-old former Olympian with Parkinson’s disease will be one of three passengers on board Virgin Galactic’s first space tourism flight when it blasts off on Thursday.

Jon Goodwin, from Newcastle, will join Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her daughter Anastatia Mayers, 18, who is studying physics in Aberdeen, on the VSS Unity for the 90-minute trip.

The two women will be the first mother and daughter to make a trip to space after winning a coveted place in a prize draw, while Mr Goodwin secured his seat 18 years ago after buying a 250,000 dollar (£194,500) ticket.

After taking off at 4pm (BST) from New Mexico in the US, in the mothership VMS Eve, VSS Unity will separate and take them into sub-orbital space, where they will briefly experience weightlessness, while looking back at Earth.

The trip will raise funds for Space for Humanity, a non-profit group which seeks to send ordinary citizens into space to give them a “grander perspective” on the challenges facing Earth.

The three will be joined by astronaut instructor Beth Moses.

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.

The company is calling the first private astronaut mission on Thursday Galactic 02.


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