Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic finally got to accomplish their goals from years ago by playing just the tip with outer space with passengers on board. With a mother-daughter duo from the Caribbean and a British Olympian who initially purchased his ticket 18 years ago as the passengers, the group had been delayed for years by testing, red tape, and governmental rules.
Launched from Truth or Consequences, NM, the space plane stayed at the edge of the earth for several minutes before returning. In the time of the brief flight, the passengers got to experience weightlessness and see the cosmos like few others have seen it.
Keisha Schahaff, 46, a health coach from Antigua, and her daughter, Anastatia Mayers, 18, a student at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen, won their tickets through company-held sweepstakes. They described the trip as a dream come true, a moment in time that truly left them speechless as they looked around. Adding in the astronaut trainer and one-half of the pilots, this flight also made history by being the first ever to have women outnumbering men four to two.
For 80-year-old, former Olympic canoer (that’s a sport??) Jon Goodwin, the trip was one of a lifetime. Purchasing his ticket back in 2005, he got one hell of a deal at $200k. Currently, they are being priced at $450k. Since his purchase, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and worried that might prevent him from taking the flight. However, he has since climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and then cycled back down. He hopes his journey will inspire others who are afflicted with the disease.
Richard Branson did not join the crew, nor was he there to celebrate with them. Then again, even though this was their first ticketed voyage, the company has already been there seven times, and he was on the Virgin flight back in 2021. He did, however send congrats via the recently renamed X “Welcome to the club.”