This Mom Just Won a Trip to Space With Virgin Galactic

by Josh Lanier

A mom from Antigua and Barbuda will leave behind the Caribbean beaches for a better view of the cosmos after winning a trip aboard Virgin Galactic’s spaceship. She plans to bring along her daughter, an astrophysics student who one day wants to work at NASA, on the flight.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson surprised Keisha with the good news. The company didn’t release her last name. The health and energy coach won two seats aboard the commercial space flight through an Omaze sweepstake.

“I barely have the words to capture my excitement,” Keisha said in a statement to People magazine. “I entered the sweepstakes after I saw an ad when I was taking my daughter to school. But who would have thought that I’d actually win. My daughter is studying STEM and wants to work at NASA. And I hope to share this experience with her because it would be an incredible dream come true for both of us, for our entire family.

“To be the first astronaut right now from the Caribbean Islands is such an honor,” she adds. “I want to bring the flag of Antigua and Barbuda to space with me. Right now, I’m trying to live in the moment, take it all in and I hope my daughter and I — as a future astronaut — can be an inspiration for women and girls everywhere.” 

Keisha won the honor over more than 64,338 people who donated money through Omaze to the Charities Aid Foundation America. She joins the more than 700 people who have paid for a seat aboard a Virgin Galactic space flight. Prices for those seats begin at $450,000, Business Insider reported.

It’s unclear when Keisha and her daughter will blast off from Virgin Galactic’s spaceport in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Bruce Willis Turns Down NASA’s Invitation

NASA administrators said they offered Bruce Willis the chance to watch the recent launch of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test on Wednesday morning. But the 66-year-old actor turned them down, reports said.

The DART is NASA’s first attempt to see if we can nudge an asteroid off of its path. It will crash into an asteroid in the hopes we can one day avert any potential strikes with earth. It’s very similar to the plot of Armageddon, which stars Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck as oil-rig workers hired to blow up an asteroid bound for the planet.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the space agency “didn’t want to miss that connection,” a nod to the Aerosmith song that featured in the movie.

While we’re all having fun joking about the Armageddon connection, scientists have been quick to point out this is far from a Hollywood blockbuster.

“The idea of a kinetic impactor is definitely not like Armageddon, where you go up at the last hour and you know, save the Earth,” said Johns Hopkins planetary scientist and DART team member Nancy Chabot. “This is something that you would do five, 10, 15, 20 years in advance — gently nudge the asteroid so it just sails merrily on its way and doesn’t impact the Earth.”