VIRGIN Galactic’s first space tourism flight has successfully landed back on Earth after taking three passengers into space including Anastatia Mayers, a student from the University of Aberdeen who won her seat.

The VSS Unity and mothership VMS Eve took off from Spaceport America, located in New Mexico, just before 8.30am local time (3.30pm BST) headed north to the edge of space, experienced zero-gravity while looking back at the curvature of the planet, and returned to Earth.

Ahead of the flight, Mayers, met with Dave Mackay, chief pilot at Spaceport America and the first native-born Scot to visit space.

Both instantly connected with their Scottish links, with Mayers currently studying philosophy and physics in Aberdeen. 

The National: Left to right: Anastatia Mayers, pilot Jon Goodwin, and Keisha Schahaff.Left to right: Anastatia Mayers, pilot Jon Goodwin, and Keisha Schahaff. (Image: VG)

Mackay joined Virgin Galactic in 2009 and became the first Scottish astronaut during Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity flight on February 22, 2019.

Mayers, 18, and her mother, Keisha Schahaff, who are both Antiguan-born and raised won their seats on the flight are set to become the first astronauts from the Caribbean and the first mother and daughter-duo to fly to space.

In a quirk of fate, Anastatia will become the second astronaut to hail from the University of Aberdeen.

Mayers said her joint degree drives passion for the sciences and her curiosity. She said: “Philosophy and physics make an interesting combination, but it expresses both my love for science and my curiosity about how the world works.”

The dynamic and multinational crew highlights the role the commercial space industry can play in removing barriers that once existed to becoming an astronaut.

To date, fewer than 700 people have travelled to space, and Virgin Galactic aims "to help redefine who gets to be an astronaut" by increasing diversity.

The ‘Galactic 02’ mission will achieve several historical milestones by flying:

  • The first astronauts from the Caribbean
  • The first mother-daughter duo to go to space
  • The first Olympian to go to space
  • The second youngest person to go to space
  • The second person with Parkinson’s to go to space

Audiences are invited to participate virtually in spaceflight and see first-hand the extraordinary experience Virgin Galactic is creating for private astronauts. The livestream will be available to watch on