Photo Credit: Space X
Antiguan Woman Wins Trip On Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Space Flight
West Indian women are having quite a week. Entertainer and businesswoman Rihanna was designated as a national hero of Barbados, to coincide with her country’s transition to an independent republic. And in news of other badass women, an Antiguan health and energy coach will be heading on a space flight.
Keisha Schahaff was announced as the winner of Sir Richard Branson’s Omaze fundraising sweepstakes, which nabbed her two seats aboard Virgin Galactic’s commercial space flight. The tickets are worth USD $450,000 each. The 44-year-old will be the first person from the Caribbean to join Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronaut community. In a serendipitous turn of events, Schahaff’s 17-year-old daughter is an astrophysics student, which makes this prize even more meaningful.
“I entered the sweepstakes after I saw an ad…but who would have thought that I’d actually win? My daughter is studying STEM and wants to work at NASA, and I hope to share this experience with her because it would be an incredible dream come true for both of us, and our entire family.”
She added, “I’ve always had a lifelong love of flying and a fascination with 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 together we can inspire the next generation to follow their dreams.”
Schahaff will receive ample training and opportunities to network before liftoff and join Branson and the Virgin Galactic team for a guided tour of Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport in New Mexico.
After surprising Schahaff with the news at home in Antigua, Branson expressed his enthusiasm for her participation.
“It was remarkable to be there for the beginning of Keisha’s journey to space; she is an extraordinary person who is already inspiring people with the work she does to support women in her home of Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.
“This experience will provide another platform for her to inspire many more people into the future. I couldn’t be happier to see the mission of Virgin Galactic come to life and to work with such amazing partners like Omaze and Space for Humanity in our continued commitment to make space accessible to all.”