Adrian Reynard: The 10th Brit in Space

British Racing Engineer Adrian Reynard's Space Odyssey with Virgin Galactic

On Friday, 8 September, British racing car engineer Adrian Reynard fulfilled a lifelong dream when he embarked on a spaceflight with Virgin Galactic’s GALACTIC 03 mission. This makes him the 10th Brit in space and the 666th astronaut to ever reach space.

The historic flight commenced at 10:34 a.m. EDT (14:34 GMT) when Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane was released from beneath the wings of its carrier craft, VMS Eve. Aboard Unity were the three paying customers: Astronaut 016, Adrian Reynard, along with investors Ken Baxter from the United States and Timothy Nash from South Africa. Remarkably, these space enthusiasts had reserved their seats as early as 2004, a testament to their unwavering dedication to space exploration.

Sharing Unity’s cabin with the passengers was Beth Moses, the chief astronaut instructor for Virgin Galactic, while in the cockpit were pilots Nicola Pecile and Michael Masucci. During their brief journey into space, the Galactic 03 crew experienced several minutes of weightlessness and gazed upon the Earth against the backdrop of the cosmos. Their unforgettable experience concluded at 11:36 a.m. EDT (15:36 GMT) when Unity safely touched down back at Spaceport America.

This venture marked Adrian Reynard’s entry into an exclusive club. Not only is Adrian now one only ten Brits who have ventured into space, but he, along with Ken Baxter and Timothy Nash, became Virgin Galactic’s 14th, 15th, and 16th astronauts. Virgin Galactic has been on an impressive trajectory, having completed three commercial missions in under three months and eight spaceflights in total.

Adrian Reynard’s journey to the stars commenced with a four-day training programme in New Mexico, preparing him for the intense Mach 3 rocket launch and exposure to over four G’s of force. With his background as a Chartered Engineer and holding two doctorates in science and engineering, along with numerous professorships and fellowships, Adrian brought a wealth of expertise to this remarkable endeavour.

His passion for engineering and speed was evident from a young age when he designed and constructed a motorcycle that broke five motorcycle world land speed records at the age of 19. In 1973, he founded Reynard Racing Cars Ltd, which would go on to achieve tremendous success in various racing championships, eventually becoming the world’s largest racing car manufacturer in the 1990s and earning two prestigious Queen’s Awards for Export.

Adrian’s fascination with space was rooted in his father’s career as an aviation engineer and his memories of witnessing the early days of space travel during the 1960s. During his GALACTIC 03 flight, he carried two meaningful medals: the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, originally awarded to Ed White, and the Apollo 1 Mission Medal, initially intended for Gus Grissom’s space journey.

Aboard VSS Unity, Adrian proudly displayed the UK flag, the British Racing Club Driver’s patch, and the emblem of Friends of Race Against Dementia, a global charity, founded by Sir Jackie Stewart OBE. 

Commenting on Adrian Reynard’s momentous achievement, Chris Maddock of Beavis Morgan said: “We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Adrian on this incredible journey into space. Adrian has been a longstanding client, and we are immensely proud to witness him fulfill his dream of venturing beyond our planet.”

Adrian Reynard’s remarkable journey with Virgin Galactic is a testament to his unwavering commitment to adventure and innovation. His accomplishments in both racing and space travel are a source of inspiration for individuals with a passion for pushing the boundaries of human exploration