‘I Will Be Changed By My Experience’: Mother-Daughter Duo Make History As First Caribbean Women To Go To Space


American spaceflight company Virgin Galactic is on a record-setting streak. The company launched its “Galactic 02” flight on Aug. 10 and sent six people to suborbital space and back. 

They set a couple of records in this one trip including having the most women on a single space flight, the first mother-daughter duo, and the first women from a Caribbean nation to reach space. Additionally, the daughter was the youngest space flyer in history. 

In terms of the mother and daughter, they got on the flight thanks to good luck. Keisha Schahaff, who was born and raised in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda won two tickets for the flight. She was part of a fundraising competition organized by Virgin Galactic and Space for Humanity, a nonprofit with the goal of making space more accessible. Schahaff gave the second ticket to her 18-year-old daughter Anastasia Mayers, who’s studying philosophy and physics at Aberdeen University in the United Kingdom.

“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,” Schahaff said in a statement before the flight. “The fact that I am here, the first to travel to space from Antigua, shows that space really is becoming more accessible. I know I will be changed by my experience, and I hope I will be able to share that energy and inspire the people around me — in my role as a life coach, a mother and as an ambassador for our beautiful planet.”

The flight, a twin-fuselage carrier aircraft called VMS Eve, included a total of six passengers and took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Three of the six passengers on the flight were private passengers. 

Other passengers aboard the flight aside from the mother and daughter include 80-year-old Jon Goodwin, a former Olympian; Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor; and Unity’s two pilots, C.J. Sturckow and Kelly Latimer.

The plane reached a maximum speed of Mach 3, which happens to be triple the speed of sound, and a peak altitude of 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) before descending to earth and touching down at Spaceport America at 11:30 a.m. EDT. 

Here’s to Black women continuing to defy the odds and make history!

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