Antiguan mother and daughter to blast off into space next month

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By Latrishka Thomas

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Antigua and Barbuda will be making history in just three weeks.

On August 10, an Antiguan woman and her daughter will be heading to space with the first private Astronaut Mission, ‘Galactic 02’.

Keisha Schahaff, 46, got the opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream when she entered the Virgin Galactic and Omaze Sweepstakes in July 2021, and won two tickets worth $450,000 each from space tourism company, Virgin Galactic.

The health and wellness coach gifted the second ticket to her daughter Anastasia Mayers who aspires to become an astrobiologist.

And after passing several medical tests and undergoing extensive training, the mother-daughter duo is ready for lift-off.

Not only will they be the first mother and daughter pair to travel to space but they will also be the first people from the Caribbean.

Mayers, 18, will also be the second youngest person to go to space.

Mother-of-two Schahaff said in a video release, “When I was two years old, just looking up to the skies, I thought, ‘how can I get there?’ But, being from the Caribbean, I didn’t see how something like this would be possible.

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Keisha Schahaff and daughter Anastasia Mayers

“The fact that I am here, the first to travel to space from Antigua, shows that space really is becoming more accessible.”

Mayers, a university student, also shared a message to those who are hesitant about taking risks.

“We all need to get out of our comfort zones and try new things, to believe in ourselves,” she said.

Meanwhile, an 80-year-old adventurer with Parkinson’s will also be zooming up to the stars, fulfilling a long-time dream.

Although he will be the second person to travel to space with the condition, he will be the first Olympian to do so, having competed in the 1972 Munich games.

‘Galactic 02’ will be Virgin Galactic’s seventh spaceflight and its second commercial spaceflight.

The three private passengers will be flying on the VSS Unity space rocket.

The launch will be streamed live on Virgin Galactic’s website,

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