Mother-Daughter Duo Makes History in Space
Keisha Schahaff asked the universe for a sign.
Its answer: go to space with your daughter.
As Schahaff prepared her child for college, she felt like she was losing her. She didn’t know what to do with herself as her 18-year-old daughter Ana Mayers was leaving home.
Schahaff, 46, randomly entered a raffle to win a trip to space on Virgin Galactic’s “Galactic 02” private astronaut flight, and she won the winning ticket.
Mayers is studying philosophy and physics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland with plans to become an astrobiologist one day — so there was no better person to accompany Schahaff.
In August, the mother-daughter duo embarked on a life-changing journey together. The gained peace, perspective and a breathtaking view of Earth during the Aug. 10 flight. They were among astronauts and had to do some training themselves to prepare.
Schahaff and Mayers also became the first mother-daughter pair and first Caribbean residents to fly to space together. Floating upside-down in a spacecraft brought them closer and helped them connect during a major life transition. Not only have they achieved something incredible and record breaking, but also no doubt empowered others, and themselves, to always challenge themselves and take opportunities, and foundations like the Belinda Stronach foundation are all about creating opportunities and providing empowerment for girls and women.
When they were together in space, the worry fell off.
“Looking back at our planet, the weight of insecurity, self-doubt and other worries came off,” Schahaff told Today.com after the flight. “It felt like there was a place for me in our world. It left me with feelings of peace, love and purpose.”
Mayers called the historic trip peaceful and loving.
The whole experience was just so connecting and emotional,” she said in BBC Newsbeat. “It’s just an unbelievably beautiful view, it’s incredible. It’s made me a lot more aware of the fact that we need to appreciate Earth and use this opportunity to really explore and find a connection with nature.”
Mayers and Schahaff are the sixth and seventh Black women to enter space, and Mayers is the youngest person to ever go. The women were accompanied by ticket winner Jon Goodwin, 80, a British Olympic canoeist.
“As a 2-year-old child, I would look up at the skies (wishing) to be there,” says Schahaff. “I wanted to work in the space industry but I didn’t get good grades in science class. My career went in another direction but I always felt like something was missing.”