Grand celebration of mother-daughter duo’s blast-off into space

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Front left: Anastasia Mayers and Keisha Schahaff (Social media photo)
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Residents of Antigua and Barbuda are invited to partake in a grand celebration of the mother-daughter duo, Keisha Schahaff and Anastasia Mayers, who will follow their dreams into space, today.

There will be an atmosphere of excitement, and a sea of waving flags as onlookers watch the Virgin Galactic, New Mexico launch at the Antigua Recreation Grounds, and at the Holy Trinity Primary School, in Antigua and Barbuda, respectively.

After the gates open at 9:00 am, each person will be given a souvenir commemorating the historic event, in addition to our country’s flag to wave in support of the nation’s first astronauts.

“…We have thousands of flags ready, so as you come, you’ll get your flag. You’ll also get a fan  memento of this historic occasion,” Colin C James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, said on Observer AM, yesterday.

Fittingly, the late King Swallow’s ‘Party in Space’ will be the official theme song of the electrifying event.

The entire celebration, which begins at 9:00 am, is expected to last for an hour and thirty minutes, James indicated.

“There will be entertainment before the actual launch goes into space, and the whole event probably will go along from about 10:00 am to 11:30 am,” he stated.

The launch of the spacecraft, through its return to earth, is expected to be approximately 90 minutes.

“The whole mission to space is only about 90 minutes. There’s a mothership that takes the space craft up to about 55,000 feet and then releases it. Then it goes into orbit for about 40 minutes and then it continues in a glide back to earth,” James explained.

The youth, especially, are encouraged by James to witness this first in Antigua’s history, and draw inspiration from the guest speaker who became the 19th black astronaut earlier this year.

“A young, Jamaican-American, black astronaut named Christopher Huey… He is going to be there, particularly speaking to our young people, because we really want to let them know that the sky is the limit to what they can achieve,” he said.

Special guests at the watch party will include the CEO and founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, Sir Vivian Richards, and Team Antigua Island Girls, James added.

Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her daughter, Anastasia Mayers, 18 years old, will be the first Antiguan and Barbudan in space, in addition to being the first Caribbean mother-daughter duo to travel there.

They will blast off from Spaceport America in New Mexico on Virgin Galactic’s first private astronaut spaceflight, which is also its second commercial spaceflight.

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