The three passengers on board the first space tourism flight operated by Virgin Galactic have described the journey as “amazing” and the “most exciting day of my life”.
The mission, which safely landed back on Earth on Thursday, achieved multiple milestones, including the first female astronauts from the Caribbean, the first mother-daughter duo to go to space, and the most women flown in a single space mission.
Jon Goodwin from the United Kingdom, and Keisha Schahaff and Anastatia Mayers from Antigua and Barbuda, were on board.
‘The re-entry was more dramatic than I thought’
Goodwin, who has Parkinson’s, said: “I’m hoping that I instil in other people around the world – as well as people with Parkinson’s – that it doesn’t stop you doing things that’s out of the normal if you’ve got some illness.
“As far as Parkinson’s is concerned, one of the nicest things for me is the acceptance by Virgin Galactic because when I signed up in September 2005, I didn’t have Parkinson’s.
“The pure acceleration. Mach 3 in eight-and-a-half seconds. The re-entry was more dramatic than I thought it would be.
“I would say it was out of control, if I didn’t know anything different. A completely surreal experience. The most impressive thing was looking at Earth from space. The pure clarity was very moving.”
‘Looking at Earth was the most amazing’
Keisha Schahaff added: “Looking at Earth was the most amazing…It’s just amazing that you can land so smoothly on a runway coming back from space.”
Among the achievements, Galactic 02 saw the youngest person to go to space, the first Olympian to go to space, the first majority female spaceflight, the sixth and seventh black women to go to space, the second person with Parkinson’s to go to space, and the third oldest person to go to space.
Kelly Latime, VSS Unity Pilot, said: “In my entire career, from the Air Force Academy to being a test pilot for NASA, nothing tops what I have just experienced at the controls of VSS Unity. Going to space today fulfilled an ambition I’ve had since I was a child. It is a privilege to be part of a majority-women crew making history as the most female astronauts flying to space in a single mission.”
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