Scots student blasts off on Virgin Galactic's first space tourism flight

Anastatia Mayers will become the first person to enter space with their mother on Virgin's Galactic's first space tourism flight

Virgin Galactic: Scots university student blasts off from New Mexico on Virgin Galactic’s first space tourism flight Virgin Galactic

An Aberdeen student is taking off on Virgin Galactic’s first ever tourism flight to space.

Anastatia Mayers, a student of philosophy and physics in Aberdeen, will be on Virgin Galactic’s first space tourism flight launching from Spaceport America New Mexico on Thursday.

She will also form one half of the first mother and daughter duo to enter space along with her mum Keisha Schahaff, 46.

The trip will make Anastatia, 18, the second youngest astronaut and the second to hail from the University of Aberdeen.

She said: “Every time I look at the stars, it almost feels like I have a place in the universe. It reminds me that, like, everything happens for a reason, nothing happens without consequences and those consequences lead to whatever destined future you have.”

Discussing the appeal space has for her, she said: “Something that replays in my mind all the time is the theory of, like, the Big Bang and how like very specific things had to happen for us all to exist today, and I think that’s a very comforting thought.”

Former Olympian Jon Goodwin, 80, from Newcastle, is set to join the mother and daughter on the 90-minute VSS Unity flight to suborbital space.

Jon was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014 and believed he would never have an opportunity of this size.

The trio are heading off on Virgin Galactic's first space tourism flightVirgin Galactic

They will enter sub-orbital space, where they will briefly experience weightlessness and be able to take in extraordinary views of the planet.

Space for Humanity, a non-profit which seeks to send ordinary citizens into space will receive funds raised from the trip.

The private passengers have been in spaceflight training participating in equipment fitting, walkthroughs, and test flights.

Keisha Schahaff said: “When I was two years old, just looking up to the skies, I thought, ‘How can I get there?’ But, being from the Caribbean, I didn’t see how something like this would be possible. The fact that I am here, the first to travel to space from Antigua, shows that space really is becoming more accessible.

“I know I will be changed by my experience, and I hope I will be able to share that energy and inspire the people around me – in my role as a life coach, a mother, and as an ambassador for our beautiful planet.” 

Jon Goodwin said, “From becoming an Olympian to canoeing between the peaks of Annapurna, to winning a six-day race in the Arctic Circle, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (and cycling back down), I’ve always enjoyed rising to new challenges.

“When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014, I was determined not to let it stand in the way of living life to the fullest. And now for me to go to space with Parkinson’s is completely magical.

“I hope this inspires all others facing adversity and shows them that challenges don’t have to inhibit or stop them from pursuing their dreams.” 

To date, fewer than 700 people have travelled to space. Virgin Galactic is aiming to create an 800 strong Future Astronaut community that represents more than 60 different nations. 

The live stream will also be available to watch on and will be simulcast on the Virgin Galactic YouTube channel here.

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