The lucky winner is Keisha S, a health and life coach and former flight attendant from Antigua in the Caribbean, and the prize includes two seats – each worth $450,000 – so Keisha will take her daughter, an astrophysics student.
In an effort to get as much publicity out of the lottery as possible, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, who himself took a test flight aboard the company’s VSS Unity rocket plane, showed up in July to deliver news of the award to Keisha.
“It has always been a lifelong love of aviation and space and this is truly a dream come true for me,” Kesha said, adding, “I hope to share this experience with my daughter so that together we can inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams.”
So what kind of experience awaits Keisha and her daughter? The flight will begin with the unit attached to the carrier aircraft VMS Eve, and will fly at an altitude of about 50,000 feet (about 15,000 meters) before launching Unity, which will then launch its missile to blow up the aircraft and passengers at an altitude of about 283,000 feet (about 86,000 meters), and they will then experience a short period From weightless they can float around the cabin and enjoy great views of the land, you’ll end up with a runway landing.
No date has been set for the flight, although it is unlikely to happen until the end of 2022 at the earliest as Virgin Galactic conducts further tests on Eve and Unity.
A sweepstakes contest was organized by fundraising platform Omaze and ran from July to September, and participants were asked to donate to the non-profit charity Space for Humanity.
More than 164,000 people from all over the world participated in the competition, with a total donation of about $1.7 million.
The proceeds will benefit Space for Humanity’s Citizen Astronaut Program, which is designed to provide a path for more people to experience space travel.
And space travel is the subject of ongoing debate and contention, with Virgin Galactic and rival space tourism company Blue Origin over where Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins. Either way, the experience offered by both companies is likely to be enjoyed by a passenger for many years.
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