'Infinity and Beyond' for space tourist
Rocketeer — (Source: Islington Gazette)

ADVENTURER Per Wimmer is preparing to set off on his biggest challenge yet after buying tickets for the first space flights for tourists.

Mr Wimmer, 40, who lives near Old Street, Finsbury, has been under-going weightlessness training and taking trips in Russian MIG fighter jets in anticipation of his three trips into the stars.

He paid $200,000 to become one of the first astronauts on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic "spaceline" and $95,000 to be rival company Xcor's first space tourist - as well as signing up with Space Adventures, which has not yet named their price, on a third trip.

Danish-born Mr Wimmer, who runs his own investment bank in Mayfair called Wimmer Financial, describes himself as "007 meets Indiana Jones".

He said: "I've been to 50 countries on Earth. I've swum with sharks in Fiji, trekked in Africa, skied down the highest ski slope in the world in Bolivia and in October, I became the first person to do a tandem skydive over Mount Everest. Earth is discovered. Space is truly the new frontier of the 21st century."

The flights are expected to take place in the next few years.

In the meantime, Mr Wimmer has teamed up with Unicef and London charity Ideas Foundation to promote interest in space among young people.

He said: "I have been working with a group of students trying to get them excited about space. It makes a big difference when you show up and tell them that a few years ago I was just like them - it brings it home to them.