ASTRONAUTS were spotted at a shopping centre as the country's first space store officially launched.

The new venture in Didcot is hoping to bring an out-of-this world experience to shoppers at the Orchard Centre and opened its doors for the first time on Saturday.

Herald Series:

Visitors can try on a space suit, explore the caves of Mars via VR technology and watch live feeds from NASA’s Space Centre.

Stephen Ringler, who came up with the idea, said he had been pleased with how things had gone in its first two days in operation.

He said: "We've had a lot of people come through so far.

READ MORE: New Space Store to open at Didcot Orchard Centre

"Some people have been seeking us out while others have just been walking past and coming in to find out what it is all about.

"Lots of people have said 'oh my gosh I love this' and signed up to take part.

"We've also been getting lots of bookings coming through already."

Herald Series:

As well as selling space-related merchandise and operating a cafe, the store is aiming to help people experience what space is like for themselves.

Mr Ringler, a rocket scientist, came up with the idea as a way of making the world-leading scientific research going on in Oxfordshire more accessible to people who live here.

The organisation has already run workshops and school visits but hasn’t had a permanent base in the area.

READ ALSO: 'Better than the Westgate' - shoppers back Orchard Centre revamp

If the idea takes off, it will be replicated across the country.

Bookings for the shop's two VR experiences - a space walk in zero gravity and a trip to explore the red planet - are also now open for bookings.