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ATG | Nov 25, 2021

Antiguan mother-daughter duo to become Caribbean’s first astronauts

/ Our Today

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From left, Omaze CEO and co-founder Matt Pohlson, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Omaze winner Keisha Schahaff, and Space for Humanity executive director Rachel Lyons congratulate Keisha at her home in Antigua. (Photo: Virgin Galactic)

Antiguan national Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Ana are set to become the first female astronauts hailing from the Caribbean.

Schahaff entered the Virgin Galactic and Omaze sweepstakes in July and initially thought she was just a finalist, before being revealed as the lucky winner right on her front porch on Tuesday (November 23).

The full surprise was done at her home by Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson, also joined by Omaze co-founder Matt Pohlson and executive director of Space For Humanity Rachel Lyons, as Schahaff struggled to contain her joy at finding out she was the winner.

“So I get to say [in person] that I love you and thank you,” she told Branson in between excited screams and hugs.

The Antiguan mother works as a health and energy coach and has had a lifelong dream of going to space, with hopes of bringing her daughter, an astrophysics student, as her guest on the incredible journey.

Over the eight-week waiting period, the worldwide competition was able to raise over US$1 million in donations to various charities.

The two lucky Antiguans will become the first Caribbean people to join the Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut Community.

The flight, scheduled for 2022, will require a month of training at the Virgin Galactic Space Centre in New Mexico.

Watch the surprise below:

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