by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “It’s something that I always thought of, and I always dreamt of but can a dream like this really happen,” said Keisha Schahaff, the Antiguan set to become the first astronaut from the island.
“The thought always came to my mind, especially as a child. I pushed it out of my mind, later on, instead wanting to explore the planet. Travelling and knowing what’s out there has always been a dream and something that I’ve actually been actioning. Being an Astronaut, yes, I actually wanted to be [one]. Unfortunately, I used to doubt myself thinking that it’s not possible, so I let it go,” said Schahaff during the Cross Caribbean Link Up on WINN’s Island Tea with Observer Radio out of Antigua and Barbuda.
However, it seems the 44-year-old didn’t let go of it entirely as she saw an opportunity to make that dream a reality and chased it.
Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Ana are set to become the first female astronauts out of Antigua, and Barbuda after Schahaff entered the Virgin Galactic and Omaze Sweepstakes in July (2021) and became the lucky winner of two tickets on a Virgin Galactic space flight scheduled for later next year.
“I’m a mother, and my daughters are now on their own basically, so I gotta focus on me right. And then I saw this lotto, and I was like maybe this could be the next chapter of my life and then boom to my surprise it actually became the next chapter of my life.”
Schahaff expressed that her main goal is to be present as she experiences being in space for the first time instead of reading about it or watching others experience it.
“I’m looking to really experience all of it, just to be up there in [my] human body, in this lifetime, right now… Just to experience it, the greatest experience ever. This is a once in a lifetime thing, and I just want to embrace it. I just want to be able to look back and see Earth, see the stars, see what’s out there. What’s actually out there, not just what is taught to you in books and just to bathe in the energy of that other side of the atmosphere.”
The two Antiguans will become the first Caribbean people to join the Virgin Galactic “Future Astronaut Community” of 700. They will require a month of training at the Virgin Galactic Space Centre in New Mexico.
The sweepstake raised over 1 million dollars in donations to various charities to make it possible for these women to make it into space next year.
Click here to watch the full interview with the future astronaut: