Astronaut on Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight wears ‘It’s coming home’ sign into space

An astronaut on Sir Richard Branson’s space flight wore an ‘It’s coming home’ message on his sleeve as he blasted off on Sunday.

Lead operations engineer Colin Bennett proudly displayed the slogan ahead of the Euro 2020 final.

The Liverpool fan, from North Somerset, was one of six people who jetted into space as part of the Virgin Galactic operation.

And asked if he had a message for the team, Mr Bennett told the Mirror: “Come on England. Let’s bring it home.”

Sir Richard also wished both England and Italy – the teams contesting the final – “the best” ahead of kick-off.

He ensured he could watch the match by having it beamed throughout the Spaceport in New Mexico, US as he relaxed reunited with his family.

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Colin Bennett
Mr Bennett proudly displayed his badge

Sir Richard had earlier had the “experience of a lifetime” after flying to the edge of space aboard Virgin Galactic’s first fully-crewed flight.

The billionaire businessman, 70, smiled as he headed back to the planet surface after feeling the thrill of weightlessness for several minutes.

The launch was hailed a “landmark moment” for the entrepreneur, as well as the whole commercial space industry.

Sir Richard said he hoped to live to 100 and vowed to dedicate the next “30 years of his life” to making space exploration available to all upon landing.

Billionaire Richard Branson reacts on board Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity
Sir Richard smiled as he reached space on Sunday

Take-off had been delayed by about 90 minutes on Sunday due to the weather overnight at Spaceport America.

But video streamed live online showed the Virgin Galactic in the air at about 3.45pm UK time, and the aircraft had reached 40,000 feet by 4pm.

The spacecraft was carried up into the atmosphere by its mothership before being released so it could power up to highs of 250,000 feet.

Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity, carrying billionaire Richard Branson and crew, starts its ascent to the edge of space above Spaceport America
Sir Richard and his crew reached speeds of Mach 3

Sir Richard and his crew reached speeds of Mach 3 on their way to the edge of space.

After a short spell during which they experienced weightlessness, the craft then pointed downwards and made its way back to the ground, touching down around 4.40pm.

Tourists are expected to pay 250,000 US dollars (£180,000) for a spaceflight on Virgin Galactic, which includes four minutes of zero gravity, when it becomes commercially viable.

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