Omaze and Virgin Galactic announce winner of once-in-a-lifetime trip to space

Richard Branson with the Virgin Galactic and Omaze competition winner Keisha Schahaff
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
24 November 2021

Richard Branson loves surprising people so when the opportunity arose to deliver the good news to the winner of Virgin Galactic and Omaze’s competition to win a space flight in person, he wasn’t going to miss out.

Keisha S. from Antigua and Barbuda is the lucky winner of two tickets on a Virgin Galactic commercial space flight. As well as getting to experience the wonder of space travel, Keisha and her guest will receive a guided tour of Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built spaceport in New Mexico, from Richard Branson and the Virgin Galactic team.

“I’ve always had a lifelong love of flying and a fascination with space, and this is truly a dream come true for me,” Keisha said. “It means the world to me that I’m sharing this experience with my daughter and am hopeful that together we can inspire the next generation to follow their dreams.”

The Omaze sweepstakes kicked off in July, following Virgin Galactic’s historic Unity 22 flight, where Richard Branson and the mission crew experienced spaceflight for the first time. In eight weeks, the competition drew hundreds of thousands of donations from nearly 200 countries to raise $1.7 million in grants benefitting Space for Humanity and its Citizen Astronaut Program. These funds, provided by grants from Charities Aid Foundation America, will help Space for Humanity transform perspectives and train candidates to ensure an inclusive future in space.

Richard Branson experiencing weightlessness during the Virgin Galactic Unity 22 spaceflight
Virgin Galactic

“Being able to give people of all ages and backgrounds equal access to space, and in turn, have the opportunity to lead and inspire others back on Earth is what Virgin Galactic has been building towards for the past two decades,” said Richard Branson. “I couldn’t be happier to see the mission of Virgin Galactic come to life and to work with such amazing partners like Omaze and Space for Humanity in our continued commitment to make space accessible to all. It was remarkable to be a part of the beginning of Keisha’s journey to Space, she is an extraordinary person who is already inspiring people with the work she does to support women in her home of Antigua and Barbuda, and this experience will provide another platform for her to inspire many more people into the future.”

Keisha will also get to join the Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut community – the first person from the Caribbean to join. Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronauts represent 62 different countries and are united by a shared passion for space. 

Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic and Omaze competition winner Keisha Schahaff

Space for Humanity is a nonprofit organisation taking on the challenge of sending humans to space and training them to lead from an Overview Perspective. Space For Humanity’s mission is deeply rooted in the principles of the “Overview Effect,” which is the experience astronauts are presented with when viewing the Earth from orbit, offering an expanded opportunity to see the profound beauty, wholeness, and interconnectedness of our home planet. Astronauts return to earth with a completely new perspective, and oftentimes, a desire to create greater change. Upon their return, Space for Humanity's citizen astronauts will commit themselves to leverage that experience for the collective good.

Visit Virgin Galactic and Space for Humanity to find out more.