An 80-year-old who became the oldest Brit to go into space has described Virgin Galactic's first space tourism flight as 'completely surreal'.
Jon Goodwin, an ex-Olympian from Newcastle-under-Lyme, flew on the VSS Unity for the 90-minute trip yesterday (August 10).
He was accompanied by Keisha Schahaff and her 18-year-old daughter, Anastasia Mayers.
Goodwin was not only the oldest Brit to fly into space, but he was also the second-ever person with Parkinson's disease to head up into the stars.
Goodwin had competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics as a canoeist.
Reflecting on his once in a lifetime experience, he said: "It was far more dramatic than I imagined it would be.
"It was the pure acceleration - Mach 3 in eight-and-a-half seconds - (that) was completely surreal, and the re-entry was a lot more dramatic than I imagined.
"In fact, I would’ve said it was out of control if I didn’t know anything different. But it was a completely surreal experience.
"The most impressive thing was looking at Earth from space - the pure clarity was very moving. Without a doubt the most exciting day in my life."
He'd secured his place on the coveted flight after paying for a £194,500 ticket 18 years ago.
Meanwhile, his travel companions secured their place after entering a prize draw.
The VSS Unity launched from New Mexico and took its passengers into sub-orbital space where they experienced weightlessness while looking out to Earth.
This flight is to test the grounds on whether or not space tourism could be viable.
Footage from inside Unity showed the passengers floating towards the windows as they looked out, joined by astronaut instructor Beth Moses.
Matt Archer, launch director at the UK Space Agency, said yesterday: "Today’s launch marks an exciting milestone for the global space sector, and especially for Virgin Galactic.
"We at the UK Space Agency wish them all the best after what has been a long and difficult journey that demonstrates just how tough launching into space can be.
"A huge amount of work goes into developing launch capabilities and, while space tourism is an interesting part of it, there is an incredibly diverse range of business and career opportunities that need people of all backgrounds and skillsets.
"In the UK alone, we have almost 50,000 people working in the space sector and our plan is to become the leading provider of small satellite launch in Europe by 2030 – providing world-leading services, bringing new markets to the UK and inspiring the next generation of British space professionals."Featured Image Credit: Virgin Galactic/PAMedia