At the beginning of November, Keisha Schahaff discovered in her garden… Richard Branson.
The billionaire at the head of Virgin Galactic then came to tell him the good news: she had been drawn, winning two tickets for a trip to space.
Value of the gift?
$ 900,000, each seat on the shuttle now costing $ 450,000!
Keisha Schahaff, 44, lives in Antigua and Barbuda, a small country - it has less than 100,000 inhabitants - located north of Guadeloupe, in the West Indies.
“When I was little, I have always been fascinated by space,” she said.
And this mother - who decided to bring her 17-year-old daughter with her, added: “It's a great opportunity for me to feel alive.
Everything had been carefully orchestrated with the organization of a fake remote discussion.
“I was just thinking of doing an interview on Zoom,” said Keisha Schahaff.
On the pretext of an Internet problem, the conversation then ends before the boss of Virgin Galactic enters the garden of the winner to give her his astronaut suit.
“When I saw Richard Branson come in, I started screaming!
I couldn't believe it!
This is the moment we told Keisha Schahaff she's won @ virgingalactic's @omaze competition and she's going to space… Her reaction brought tears to my eyes!
https://t.co/F6iBgXC5P0 @spacehumanity pic.twitter.com/G9VXuMAhTi
- Richard Branson (@richardbranson) November 24, 2021
Keisha Schahaff won this award by participating in a fundraiser organized by Virgin Galactic on the Omaze platform, which raised $ 1.7 million.
The money will be donated to the NGO Space for Humanity, which works for wider access to space.
The amount of the donation donated by Keisha Schahaff was not disclosed, but these started as low as $ 10.
The fundraising attracted nearly 165,000 participants in eight weeks.
700 tickets already sold
“Being able to give people of all ages and backgrounds equitable access to space, and in turn, the opportunity to inspire and guide others once on Earth, is what Virgin Galactic has been striving for ever since. two decades, ”said Briton Richard Branson, quoted in the press release.
Keisha Schahaff will be one of Virgin Galactic's “first astronauts”, but her place in the queue has yet to be determined.
Virgin Galactic has already pre-sold some 700 space tickets: 600 between 2005 and 2014, then 100 new since August, when they went on sale for a price of 450,000 dollars.
The goal is to sell 1,000 in total before the launch of commercial flights, the first of which is to take place in the fourth quarter of 2022, after a period of aircraft improvements currently underway.
On July 11, Richard Branson himself boarded the SpaceShipTwo during a test flight, accompanied by Virgin Galactic employees.
The proposed trip offers only a few minutes in zero gravity: a huge carrier plane takes off from a classic runway, then drops the ship, which looks like a large private jet, at altitude.
This then ignites its engine until it exceeds 80 km in altitude - the limit of space according to the American army -, then descends while hovering.