Alton Towers is to open what it claims is the world’s first rollercoaster that combines a physical ride with virtual reality, giving passengers a “customised journey into space” via headsets that use groundbreaking technology. The ride, called Galactica, will launch in April and is the first major new ride at the Staffordshire theme park since 16 people were injured, including five seriously, in a rollercoaster crash last June. On the Galactica ride, each passenger on the 840-metre long (2,760ft) track wears a virtual reality headset that creates the illusion they are flying through space, with the movements on-screen coinciding with those on the track. As part of the plan to deal with lower visitor numbers, the park’s operator, Merlin Entertainments, has said it will close Alton Towers on quiet weekdays. In November, Alton Towers announced up to 190 redundancies after a downturn in visitor numbers after The Smiler crash.