80-year-old Brit Olympian with Parkinson’s among trio to blast off on Virgin’s first EVER space tourist flight
AN 80-year-old Olympian with Parkinson’s is among the trio to be visiting space on Virgin Galactic’s first-ever tourist flight.
Adventurer Jon Goodwin joins 46-year-old mother of two Keisha Schahaff and daughter Anastatia Mayers on the trip to the edge of space.
The three-person crew will become the first civilians to travel on a Virgin Galactic spaceflight.
The VSS Unity space plane will launch them from Spaceport America New Mexico on Thursday 10 August for a 90-minute flight to suborbital space.
Goodwin will be the first Olympian to travel to space, having competed in the 1972 Munich games for canoe slalom.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014, Goodwin will become the second person with the condition to be that close to the rest of the cosmos.
Keisha Schahaff, an entrepreneur and health & wellness coach from Antigua and Barbuda, was the lucky winner of two spaceflight seats which helped raise $1.7million (£1.33million) in grants for Space for Humanity, a non-profit that seeks to diversify the space sector.
Schahaff will be accompanied by one of her two daughters.
Mayers, an 18-year-old student from Antigua and Barbuda, is currently in the second year of her philosophy and physics degree at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
The pair will become the first mother-daughter duo to travel to space together.
The private passengers have been in spaceflight training for some time, participating in equipment fitting, walk-throughs, and test flights to prepare for the official launch.
The flight will finally make Richard Branson’s cosmic tourism dreams come to fruition, and earn him a seat alongside other big-dreamed billionaire’s like SpaceX owner Elon Musk and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.
In May, Virgin Galactic got the final go-ahead to take tourists into space following a successful four-person crew flight.
It was the final test run for space plane VSS Unity, where a ticket costs an eyewatering $450,000 (£365,000).
Shaking off the anchoring of gravity is one of the main appeals for forking out so much cash for an hour-and-a-half experience.
While the flight is an hour and a half, the crew will be suspended around 54 miles above Earth’s surface for three minutes – where they will be able to experience true weightlessness.
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