Virgin Galactic Rockets Tourists to Space for the First Time-Ever

Virgin Galactic recently took an ex-Olympian, a student from the University of Aberdeen, and her mother to the edge of space during its debut tourist voyage.

Ana Mayers, aged 18, and her mom Keisha Schahaff, aged 46, originally from Antigua, secured their spots through a contest. This pair marked the first mom-daughter team journeying into space.

Jon Goodwin, hailing from Newcastle-under-Lyme, became the subsequent individual with Parkinson’s to experience space, naming the adventure “completely surreal”.

In 2005, Mr. Goodwin purchased his ticket for $250,000, which was equivalent to THB 7,383,400 at the time.

The transporting vessel VMS Eve ascended from Spaceport America, situated in New Mexico, launching at 08:30 local hours (15:30 BST).

At the fifty-minute mark, Unity, the rocket vessel, disengaged from Eve as orchestrated.

Shortly afterwards, the travelers received permission to release their buckles and savour weightlessness, reaching approximately 85km (280,000ft) high.

Ms. Mayers, studying philosophy and physics in her second year at the University of Aberdeen, quickly looked out the window, absorbing views of the Earth and the vastness of space.

Subsequently, the trio repositioned into their chairs, securing themselves for the homeward leg.

Their successful touch-down at Spaceport America happened roughly 60 minutes after takeoff.

Post-flight, in a media gathering, Ms. Schahaff, who procured the award en route to see her daughter in Scotland, felt she was still “up there” post-adventure.

“Looking at Earth was the most amazing” segment of the expedition, she conveyed.

Mr. Goodwin labeled his day as the pinnacle of exhilaration. Even with a prior Parkinson’s diagnosis, he received a green signal to embark.

“I’m hoping that I instil in other people around the world, as well as people with Parkinson’s, that it doesn’t stop you doing things that’s out of the normal if you’ve got some illness,” he stated.

“The most impressive thing was looking at Earth from space – the pure clarity was very moving.”

A video clip shared online showed Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, visibly moved in Antigua, the homeland of Ms. Schahaff and Ms. Mayers.

Sir Richard, a traveler of a similar mission in July 2021, penned: “Today we flew three exceptional private guests to space: Keisha Schahaff, Anastatia Mayers and Jon Goodwin.”

“Congratulations Virgin Galactic commercial astronauts 011, 012 and 013 – welcome to the club!”

Mr. Goodwin led the queue of around 800 people who purchased Unity rocket journeys. Some of them, Mr. Goodwin included, have anticipated their turn for over ten years, and many are still patiently waiting.

In 2004, Sir Richard publicized his ambition to create a spacecraft, assuming commercial operations by 2007. Yet, technical hurdles and a tragic 2014 in-flight mishap have made it among his most daunting endeavors.

Lately, Blue Origin, a space enterprise led by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, surpassed Virgin Galactic, becoming the premier to host paying astronauts.

Both entities advocate the scientific merits of their ventures while also targeting the rich. However, space travel draws criticism for its price tag and environmental impact.