Virgin Galactic To Transport First Mother, Daughter Into Space

Mother and daughter from Caribbean set to travel into space aboard second Virgin Galactic commercial flight

An 18-year-old Aberdeen University student and her mother are to become the first mother and daughter to travel into space this week with Virgin Galactic after winning a prize draw.

Mother Keisha Schahaff, a Caribbean native, entered the competition while aboard a Virgin Atlantic flight from Antigua to London to organise her daughter’s visa.

Richard Branson later travelled to her home in Antigua to tell her she had won the trip into sub-orbital space, which is scheduled to launch from New Mexico on Thursday.

Schahaff and her daughter Anastatia Mayers are also the first people from the Caribbean to go to space.

Image credit: Virgin Galactic

Commercial flight

This week’s mission, called Galactic 02, is the firm’s second commercial flight, after a June flight that carried a team of Italian researchers into space.

The flight is also to carry 80-year-old John Goodwin, a British Olympic competitor who will be the second person with Parkinson’s to travel to space.

Three Virgin Galactic employees will also be aboard, with one in the cabin with the other passengers and two at the controls.

The VSS Unity vehicle is to ride a carrier vehicle, the White Knight Two, to a height of about 50,000 feet, where it will separate and make the remaining flight with its onboard rocket motor.

Image credit: Virgin Galactic

Space passengers

The listed price for seats aboard the 90-minute Virgin Galactic flights is $450,000 (£352,000), but there is a backlog of more than 800 passengers.

Two years ago Virgin boss Branson narrowly beat Amazon’s Jeff Bezos into space on a Virgin Galactic test flight with five crewmates.

Bezos flew into space nine days later with his company Blue Origin, which is also offering commercial passenger flights.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2020 became the first private company to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and in May transported three private passengers to the ISS.

Virgin Galactic Image credit: Keisha Schahaff/Instagram
Image credit: Keisha Schahaff/Instagram