In the Virgin Galactic Raffle, a Caribbean mom wins two tickets to space.
According to Virgin Galactic, a health coach from Antigua and Barbuda has won two tickets worth nearly $1 million to be among the company’s first space travelers.
Keisha Schahaff, 44, said she wants to fly into Earth’s orbit with her 17-year-old daughter, a science student in the United Kingdom who aspires to work for NASA one day.
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, shocked Schahaff with the news in early November at her home in Antigua and Barbuda.
She told AFP, “I just assumed I was doing a regular interview.”
“I literally screamed when I saw Richard Branson walk in! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” “As a little child, I was always fascinated by space,” she added. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to feel alive and embark on the most incredible experience of my life.” Schahaff won the reward after participating in a Virgin Galactic fundraiser lottery on the Omaze platform, which raised $1.7 million.
The funds will be donated to the non-profit organization Space for Humanity, which promotes greater access to space.
Although the amount she donated was not disclosed, entry required a minimum donation of $10.
After noticing an advertisement for the prize on a Virgin Atlantic flight, Schahaff, a health and energy coach who specializes in working with women, decided to enter.
“I just filled out the application and performed what was required,” she explained, “without realizing that I would have gotten a response.”
“It gives me great joy to encourage people to pursue their dreams.”
Virgin Galactic said in a statement that the drive drew roughly 165,000 people in eight weeks.
The goal of Wednesday’s announcement was to highlight that space tourism is opening up prospects for a wide range of individuals, despite the fact that prices are still out of reach for most.
“What Virgin Galactic has been working towards for the past two decades is being able to give people of all ages and backgrounds equitable access to space, and in turn, the potential to lead and inspire others back on Earth,” added Branson.
In July, the British septuagenarian traveled in his company’s test trip to orbit, defeating Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos by a few days in the billionaire space race.
Schahaff will be one of Virgin Galactic’s first space travelers, but her exact position in line has yet to be confirmed, according to a company representative.
Virgin Galactic has already pre-sold 700 space tickets, with 600 going for up to $250,000 each between 2005 and 2014. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.