An 80-year-old former Olympian with Parkinson’s disease is set to embark on Virgin Galactic’s inaugural space tourism flight. Jon Goodwin, from Newcastle, will be one of the three passengers on board the VSS Unity when it launches on Thursday.
Joining him will be Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her daughter Anastatia Mayers, 18, who secured their spots after winning a prize draw. The two women will be the first mother and daughter duo to journey to space. Meanwhile, Goodwin secured his seat 18 years ago, purchasing a ticket worth £194,500.
The flight will begin at 4pm (BST) from New Mexico in the US. The VMS Eve mothership will take off carrying the VSS Unity, which will later separate and transport the passengers into sub-orbital space. During their 90-minute trip, they will get to experience weightlessness and witness the Earth from above.
The purpose of this mission is to raise funds for Space for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that aims to offer regular citizens the opportunity to gain a broader perspective on the Earth’s challenges by sending them to space. The team will be accompanied by astronaut instructor Beth Moses.
Virgin Galactic achieved its first commercial spaceflight in June, where Italian astronauts were brought into space to conduct various scientific experiments. Thursday’s mission is referred to as Galactic 02 and marks the company’s first private astronaut journey.