Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has surprised a fan with a free trip to space.
Amsuingly, the winner will be the first Antiguan citizen to be an astronaut.
Richard Branson Surprises Fan With Tickets for Free Trip to Space
Virgin Galactic has announced the winner of their free trip to space giveaway. In partnership with Space for Humanity and Omaze, the sweepstake, which was announced in July, gave regular people the opportunity to win two tickets to the edge of space, per Engadget.
In the posted YouTube video of Omaze, Branson said that the company has offered one lucky winner the chance to win two seats aboard one of Virgin Galactic's first space flight. The said winner is a health coach from Antigua and Barbuda named Keisha S.
Branson went to her home in Antigua to surprise her with the Virgin Galactic space flight tickets.
According to Branson, Keisha thought that she is a finalist and hoped for a virtual chat with the co-founder of Omaze and the executive director of Space for Humanity. However, Keisha did not know that Branson and his giveaway partners were parked right around the corner from her home.
Moreover, Branson's partners called Keisha from their improvised office. During the video call, the free trip to space winner stated that she always dreamt of life beyond Earth.
"I think dreams always can come true, maybe not in this lifetime, but it will come true eventually," Keisha furthered in the interview.
When asked about who will be benefitting from the second ticket, she stated that she intends to give the second ticket to her daughter, who happens to be an astrophysics student.
"It means the world to me. I hope to share this experience with my daughter, so together we can inspire the next generation to follow their dreams," she explained.
After the said video interview, Branson together with Omaze and Space for Humanity proceeded to Keisha's home to give the good news personally. Aside from this, they also gave the suits that Keisha and her daughter will be wearing as they fly into the edge of space.
In addition to this, both of them will be the first astronaut from Antigua.
On the other hand, while the sweepstakes were free to participate in, people could win additional entries by donating to Space for Humanity, an organization dedicated to making space travel more accessible.
Virgin Galactic Space Flight
For background information, the competition was announced by Virgin Galactic and Omaze in July, shortly after Unity completed its first fully crewed spaceflight, per Space.com.
From Spaceport America in New Mexico, Branson and three other crew members, as well as two pilots, were launched into suborbital space through the Unity 22 mission.
With regards to how the said sweepstakes occurred, every dollar given to the Omaze sweepstakes buys 10 entries. Through this, Omaze revealed in the video that the event received donations from more than 164,000 people across the world and raised a total of $1.7 million.
The said donations will go to the non-profit organization Space for Humanity's Citizen Astronaut Program (CAP).
According to Space for Humanity's Citizen CAP statement, this initiative allows people to "apply for an opportunity to go to space and experience the Overview Effect: the cognitive shift in awareness that occurs when a human being looks down on the Earth from space."
Space.com furthered that the flight that will take Keisha and her daughter has yet to be scheduled by Virgin Galactic or Omaze.
However, the said flight will not happen until mid-2022 since Virgin Galactic is now completing its maintenance and upgrade works on the carrier plane.