Per is the first paying rocket man

Press Association – Fri, Mar 14, 2014

 

Press Association - London-based investment banker Per Wimmer was the first to buy a ticket to ride into space (AP)

The life-changing experience of looking down on the earth is one of the biggest draws of space travel, according to one astronaut-in-waiting.

Per Wimmer, a Danish financier based in London, was the first person to buy a ticket for a flight on the XCOR Lynx and he is counting down the days until he can make the trip.

The adventurer has already travelled to more than 60 countries on earth and is keen to explore the next frontier.

"I have been diving with sharks in Fiji, been skiing in the highest resort in the world at 5500 meters altitude outside La Paz, Bolivia, and in 2008, together with Ralph Mitchell, I set a world record by successfully executing the world's first tandem skydive above Mount Everest.

"However, having done a number of the various Indiana Jones and James Bond-style adventures available on earth, I am now ready for space - the true adventure frontier of the 21st century."

Mr Wimmer already has three space missions lined up and is keen to go as soon as possible so he can claim the title of first Dane in space.

He said: "I like doing things for the first time, writing the manual rather than following one.

" The first ticket to space I bought in 2000 and I thought by 2006 I would have been in space. Now, 14 years later, I am still eagerly and patiently waiting. I did not imagine that it would take this long.

"However, there has been a lot of recent momentum in private space travel and it now looks like Virgin Galactic and XCOR may fly into space with commercial passengers within the next 18 months. That is truly an exciting prospect and I very much look forward to my first and the subsequent space flights."

Mr Wimmer already has a ticket for a trip with Virgin Galactic, where he is a founding astronaut, as well as Space Adventures and XCOR.

His preparation has gone much further than just buying the tickets; he has already flown fighter jets, experienced the zero gravity aircraft unofficially known as "the vomit comet" and undergone centrifuge training in Russia and the US.

"I feel ready to go to space as soon as the rocket green light is given," he said.

"I expect the trips to be life-changing experiences. I am privileged to have met and to know some of the Apollo astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin and Alan Bean as well as having watched numerous documentaries about other astronauts and they all seem to concur that going to space is life-changing.

"I think my journey to space with be just as much an internal psychological journey as well as an amazing external trip. I cannot wait to see the blackness of the universe in the background of our beautiful Earth. I am so lucky."

He added: "I am fully aware of the risks associated with flying on any new technology or, indeed, a rocket.

"I think the risk profile is perhaps best compared to the early days of aviation. High net worths and government officials were amongst the privileged few who had the opportunity to fly. The same is true for private space travel today. We are at a dawn of a new era."