Virgin Galactic to send its first sweepstake winner into space

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Virgin Galactic to send its first sweepstake winner into space

“I’ve always had a lifelong love of flying and a fascination with space,” Keisha said in a press release. “This is truly a dream come true for me.”

Virgin Galactic announced its plan to raffle two seats on its spacecraft in July following a successful launch and return of its Unity 22 mission that sent Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson to space. More than a hundred thousand people donated to the sweepstakes, which drew in a projected $1.7 million in eight weeks following its kick-off in July, according to Virgin Galactic. Proceeds will benefit Space for Humanity and its Citizen Astronaut Program.

But companies and wealthy space tourists have also been making efforts to bring along those who can’t afford the trips on their own. In September, SpaceX’s Inspiration4 space flight included billionaire funder Jared Isaacman and three other individuals, who Issacman bought tickets for.

2021 saw the beginning of a new era of private and civilian space missions. The first batch of civilians has been notable for their extreme wealth, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic’s Branson. Many more private individuals are shelling out hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to reserve a seat on a future flight.

Story Highlights

  • “I’ve always had a lifelong love of flying and a fascination with space.”

  • The sweepstakes was done in partnership with Omaze, a fundraising company, and Space for Humanity, a nonprofit that wants to ensure an inclusive future in space.

In addition to winning a ticket to space, Keisha also won a tour of Spaceport America in New Mexico. There is no word yet on when her trip will take place.