Source: CMC- An Antigua woman will go into space, possibly with her daughter, after winning two seats on Virgin Galactic’s commercial space flight.
Keisha Schaaf was announced as the winner of the Virgin Galactic lottery and Sir Richard Branson Omaze fundraiser on Wednesday, and said she hopes to take her 17-year-old daughter, an astrophysics student, on the nearly $1 million trip. Tickets are currently on sale for $450,000 each.
The health and energy coach said the opportunity was a dream come true.
“I entered a sweepstakes after I saw an ad…but who would have thought I would actually win? My daughter is studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and would like to work at NASA, and I hope to share this experience with her because it will be a wonderful dream come true for both of us and our family entire.
“I have always loved flying all my life and the magic of space, and this is truly a dream come true for me. It means the world to me. I hope to share this experience with my daughter, so that together we can inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams,” said the 44-year-old mother.
Later, in a post on her Facebook page, Shanaf said that she is ready to experiment and represent her twin island nation as well as the greater Caribbean.
“Training is going to take some time, I know, but I am fully prepared to embrace each experience onward. It gives me great pleasure to be an ambassador for our island and the Caribbean, and to be the first such ambassador to enter the space that I am ready to represent. My heart is open and ready to unite, empower and inspire.”
I plan to contribute positively to our society, achieving unity, protecting the earth, and growing as a human family. I hope my experience shows that dreams do come true and this will enable us all to have confidence in the alignment of the universe and the knowledge that anything is possible.”
Sir Richard and Matt Paulson, CEO and co-founder of Omaze, an online fundraising platform, along with CEO of Space for Humanity, Rachel Lyons, surprised Schaff at her home to deliver the news of her winning the lottery that began in July, after a mission Virgin Galactic’s historic Unity 22 in which Sir Richard and five other team members embarked on the company’s first full crew flight test.
“It was wonderful being there at the beginning of Keisha’s journey into space; she is an extraordinary person who really inspires people with the work she is doing to support the women in her home in Antigua and Barbuda,” Sir Richard said after Schaff’s surprise.
“This experience will provide another platform for her to inspire more people in the future. It gives me great pleasure to see Virgin Galactic’s mission come to life and work with such amazing partners as Omaze and Space for Humanity in our ongoing commitment to making space for everyone.”
Schaaf will also join the community of future astronauts on Virgin Galactic, as the first person from the Caribbean. The Future Astronauts community is a well-established and growing family of 700 members from more than 60 countries, all united by a common passion for adventure and a desire to push the boundaries of humanity.
As a member of this community, Schaaf and her fellow future astronauts will be invited to participate in extraordinary experiments to make new connections and prepare for their journey into space. Besides anticipating space and preparing for space, the community of future astronauts uses its collective strength as a force for good by inspiring students to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through their engagement with the Galactic Unite.
In addition to experiencing the marvel of space travel, Schaaf will receive a guided tour of Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built spaceport in New Mexico, from Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Galactic team.
The Omaze competition that won donations from 164,338 people around the world in eight weeks attracted $1.7 million to support the Space for Humanity mission to democratize space travel.