The new ride is designed to let passengers experience similar g-forces to astronauts

Alton Towers launches space-themed VR rollercoaster

Alton Towers is installing a rollercoaster that includes a virtual reality headset for its passengers.

The new ride, which is called Galactica, is the first to be introduced since a number of passengers were seriously injured following the malfunctioning of a rollercoaster last summer.

Galactica is themed around space, and features an 840m long track coupled with virtual reality. Each passenger wears a headset that creates the illusion they are flying through space, with the movements on-screen coinciding with those on the track.

Alton Towers’ Gill Riley said the safety of visitors is the park's "number one priority", and that after the incident last year, additional safety protocols had been put in place.

Comprehensive and independent inspections of the new ride will occur prior to its public opening.

"Galactica uses groundbreaking technology to give riders a breathtaking and completely unique rollercoaster experience," she said.

"Tim Peake captured the imagination of millions of Brits last year when he set off on his mission to the International Space Station - and now our visitors can become astronauts too."

The ride is designed to let passengers experience a similar level of g-force to that felt by astronauts during rocket launches. Alton Towers said they typically feel g-forces of 3g and that Galactica will offer a maximum of 3.5g.

"There is nowhere else in the world that people can experience the feeling of a flying rollercoaster combined with soaring through the universe,” Riley said.

"For two minutes, our guests will be transported into space and we believe Galactica showcases the future for theme parks around the world - it's a complete game changer."

As part of the plan to deal with lower visitor numbers, the park's operator Merlin Entertainments has said it will close Alton Towers for a number of "typically quiet" days during the week.

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