Former Clevedon student heading to space with Richard Branson

Clevedon School student heading to space with Virgin Galactic

Colin Bennett will head to space on Sunday (July 11) as part of Virgin Galactic's first fully crewed spaceflight. - Credit: Virgin Galactic

A former Clevedon School student will head to space alongside Richard Branson as part of Virgin Galactics first fully-crewed space flight, taking off on Sunday (July 11).

Colin Bennett, who left Clevedon School in 2003, is Virgin Galactic's lead engineer, meaning he will be responsible for the in-flight cabin procedures on the VSS Unity spaceplane.

He will be joined in space by his colleagues Beth Moses, chief astronaut instructor at Virgin Galactic, Sirisha Bandla, vice president of Government affairs and research operations at Virgin Galactic, and Virgin Galactic founder, Richard Branson.

Branson's experience will be evaluated by Virgin Galactic to determine how to improve the space flight experience for 'future astronaut customers'.

Mr Bennett's former physics teacher still teaches at the Clevedon School and remembers Colin well from his time in his class.

Andy Davis said: “I remember him as a calm, modest and hard-working student, with a great work ethic. 

“He was one of those students that had drive and resolve and excellent leadership skills. It has been amazing to hear about his journey from Clevedon to outer space.”

Virgin Galactic's First Spaceflight on December 13th 2018

Virgin Galactic's First Spaceflight on December 13th 2018 - Credit: Virgin Galactic 2018

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The school's headteacher, Jim Smith, has commended Colin's achievements and labelled him 'an inspiration to all our students'.

Mr Smith told the Times: “Colin is an inspiration to all our students and it shows that with hard work, dedication and the right attitude, anything is possible. 

“He is simply a kind and brilliant individual of whom we are very proud. We wish all the best for the flight.”

The former pupil has kept in touch with the school as part of its ‘Inspiring Alumni’ and has offered to hold a video call with students in the coming weeks to talk through his experience and give an insight into his role and the flight.

The spaceflight's launch will be live-streamed and can be watched by visiting www.virgingalactic.com