JOHN’S, ANTIGUA – Anticipation is reaching new heights in the twin-island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda as Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Anastasia Mayers prepare to embark on an unprecedented journey – a space travel odyssey that will etch their names in history. This remarkable mother-daughter duo is set to become Antigua and Barbuda’s trailblazing astronauts, a feat that also marks a significant milestone for the entire Caribbean region.
On August 10, 2023, Schahaff, a seasoned adventurer at forty-six years, and her intrepid eighteen-year-old daughter will step aboard the Galactic 02 spaceflight departing from the iconic Spaceport America in New Mexico. This monumental voyage, orchestrated by Virgin Galactic, symbolizes both the company’s second commercial spaceflight and its inaugural private astronaut mission.
Amidst this monumental event, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has unveiled plans for two spirited public gatherings on August 10, held simultaneously in Antigua and Barbuda. These celebratory watch parties are poised to unite the entire nation, inviting every citizen to partake in the jubilant revelry.
Galactic 02’s impending launch transcends national borders; it serves as a profound source of inspiration across the Caribbean and beyond. These gatherings are not mere celebrations; they are observances of human curiosity and tenacity, paying homage to the indomitable spirit that propels us to new frontiers.
Reflecting on this audacious undertaking, the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment for Antigua and Barbuda articulated, “The audacious spirit of adventure ingrained in Antigua and Barbuda is unparalleled. This dynamic mother-daughter team will serve as enduring beacons of inspiration for generations to come, igniting the dreams of those who dare to aspire to the stars. As they soar, they also honor the fearless Antiguans and Barbudans who have shattered conventional boundaries. We extend an enthusiastic invitation to all to join us at these watch parties, witness this historical juncture, and become a part of this monumental tapestry of our nation’s journey.”
Colin C. James, the CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, echoed this sentiment, saying, “Our applause resounds as these extraordinary women embark on their extraordinary odyssey to the stars. The exhilaration is so infectious that it seems as though the heartbeat of Antigua and Barbuda resonates in unison with theirs, creating an unbreakable bond that bridges the distance to space itself. August 10 holds the promise of a collective experience as we unite under our national flags to cheer them on.”
Distinguished guests, including Sir Richard Branson, the visionary founder of Virgin Galactic, and Christopher Huie, the trailblazing 19th Black astronaut who made history earlier this year, have been specially invited by The Hon. Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, to join in these revelries. Alongside the family of the intrepid astronauts, government officials, and esteemed dignitaries will also grace the occasion.
In Antigua, the vibrant celebrations will unfold at the iconic Antigua Recreation Ground, while in Barbuda, the Holy Trinity Primary School will be the backdrop for equally enthusiastic festivities. Doors to these venues will swing open at 9:00 a.m., and shortly after 10:00 a.m., the launch will usher in a new era of exploration.
Beyond being privy to the exhilarating countdown and witnessing the awe-inspiring spectacle of the Galactic 02 launch live from Spaceport America, New Mexico, attendees of these public events will also immerse themselves in an array of entertainment and activities, embracing the occasion’s true essence.
This upcoming August 10 marks not just a historical event but a testament to the relentless pursuit of the unknown. Keisha Schahaff and Anastasia Mayers are not merely astronauts; they are emissaries of human potential, symbolizing the shared aspiration of a nation, and a triumph that resonates far beyond Earth’s bounds.
Persons will also be able to view the spaceflight live on: www.virgingalactic.com