The first ever tourist flight to space took place this week

A former Olympian, plus a student from the University of Aberdeen, were both on board

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Unity Rocket Plane
Photograph: Virgin Galactic

A trip to space is perhaps the most ambitious, futuristic bucket list aspiration held by adventurous travellers. It wasn’t even that long ago that space travel felt like it would never happen in our lifetimes, but as of this week, the dream has very much become a reality – and any regular old tourist can do it, provided they have hundreds of thousands to spend on the privilege. 

Jon Goodwin, Keisha Schaff and Anastasia Mayers were the first tourist passengers to experience the wonder of space travel, accompanied by astronaut instructor Beth Moses. Goodwin is a former British Olympian, who competed as a canoeist in the 1972 games. Schaff and Mayers are a mother-daughter duo, and Mayers is studying physics and philosophy at the University of Aberdeen.

On Thursday (August 10), they boarded a carrier plane called VMS Eve, which transported the rocket-powered VSS Unity, and had lift-off. The plane took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico and travelled to an altitude of 44,300 ft. Those onboard experienced about five minutes of weightlessness. It all sounds pretty unbelievable. 

When speaking to the Evening Standard, Goodwin said ‘It was far more dramatic than I imagined it would be. It was the pure acceleration (that) was completely surreal, and the re-entry was a lot more dramatic than I imagined.’

Schahaff and her daughter won her and her daughter’s spots on the flight, whereas Goodwin was one of the first of around 800 people to buy his ticket 18 years ago, which cost him around £195,000 in today’s money, for the 90-minute trip. 

Monthly trips run by Virgin Galactic could soon be programmed, but it’ll cost you. From September, it’s likely that tickets will cost between $200,000 and $450,000 (£157,000 - £354,000). 

Turns out, you can put a price on paying a visit to the stars, and the cost is pretty hefty. If you do happen to have nearly half a million dollars lying around, why not book your place? Despite the eye-watering bill, it promises to be pretty spectacular. 

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