Space enthusiast Kellie Gerardi is nearing the launch of her first flight to space with billionaire Richard Branson‘s Virgin Galactic spaceflight company.
The Jupiter, Florida-based 32-year-old is a bioastronautics researcher and social media influencer. She’s taking part in an upcoming space flight aboard the VSS Unity out of New Mexico. In fact, the spaceship’s official launch blasted off last weekend on Sunday with founder Richard Branson on board.
Virgin Galactic has plans to test out more flights before opening up commercial flights in 2022. The company is hoping to make space travel more accessible, although current ticket prices are $250,000 per person. Yet Gerardi is getting a chance to fly to space soon as part of Virgin Galactic’s initial test runs.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed with excitement,” Gerardi told FOX News by email. “Calling this my life’s dream doesn’t seem to do it justice. I could have never dreamed of this moment.”
Just a sincere thank you for being here. The adventure is only beginning! ❤️♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic
Gerardi was raised within a couple of hours of Cape Canaveral, Florida where NASA’s rocket-launching operation is located. Growing up there heavily influenced her love for space. Additionally, Gerardi frequently posts space-related content on social media, which she shares with her 144,000 followers. She also helps promote opportunities for women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) with her accounts.
“Less than one hundred women in history (and only a handful of moms) have ever flown to space. And I really believe representation matters,” Gerardi said.
“The most rewarding part for me has definitely been telling our 3-year-old daughter, Delta V. I get emotional when I think about what it means for her to watch me, her Mommy, become an astronaut,” Gerardi added.
Richard Branson’s Highly-Anticipated Virgin Galactic Flight to Space Delayed
Sir Richard Branson’s groundbreaking spaceflight wasn’t immune from a bit of drama this past weekend. The flight was supposed to launch early Sunday morning, but the company had to delay take off. Branson is hoping to begin a new age of tourism by making space travel more accessible to the public. But they have had a few hiccups in their plans.
Branson and his Unity 22 mission crew planned to launch the first flight at 9 a.m. ET. Inclement weather ended up delaying the launch by an hour and a half. But thankfully those tuning in didn’t have any further delays to the historic space flight. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company shared a clip on Twitter on Sunday morning as final preparations got underway.
“It’s a beautiful day to go to space. Richard Branson and the #Unity22 crew have arrived at @Spaceport_NM in New Mexico,” the account wrote.
The Twitter post then detailed that things were moving forward as planned. Finally, the account also stated that fans or anyone else interested can watch the launch at Virgin Galactic website. The event began at 7:30 a.m. PT, 10:30 a.m. ET, and 3:30 p.m. British Standard Time where Branson hails from.