By Zaya Williams
Keisha Schahaff, a 46-year-old Antiguan woman, is on the cusp of realizing her lifelong dream of space travel. Leaving Antigua yesterday, she headed to New Mexico, where she will meet her 18-year-old daughter, Anastasia Mayers.
The duo is set to make history as they become Antigua and Barbuda’s first astronauts and the first Caribbean mother-daughter team to venture into space.
Schahaff and her daughter will be part of the Galactic 02 spaceflight, departing from Spaceport America in New Mexico. This event marks Virgin Galactic’s first private astronaut spaceflight and the second commercial spaceflight, propelling the boundaries of space exploration further than ever before.
Their departure from Antigua was accompanied by VIP treatment at the airport, acknowledging the significance of this groundbreaking mission.
The entire nation of Antigua and Barbuda is celebrating this momentous event with two public watch parties, organized by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
On August 10, citizens of Antigua and Barbuda will gather at the Antigua Recreation Ground and the Holy Trinity Primary School in Barbuda to witness the launch. The venues will open at 9:00 a.m., with the launch scheduled shortly after 10:00 a.m. Special guests, including Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, and Christopher Huie, the 19th Black astronaut and a Jamaican-American, will attend, alongside government officials and dignitaries.
The public watch parties will feature live streams of the Galactic 02 spaceflight launch, allowing everyone to share this historic occasion’s excitement and joy. Attendees will be treated to entertainment and activities, creating an atmosphere of celebration and pride for the achievements of their fellow countrywomen.
For those unable to attend in person, the spaceflight can be viewed live on the Virgin Galactic website.