Next Virgin Galactic crew includes 80-year-old Olympian and mother-daughter duo

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic has selected an 80-year-old former Olympian and a mother-daughter team for its next commercial space flight, Galactic 02. 

Galactic 01, the preceding mission of the Virgin Group’s space travel arm, took off and landed on June 29, 2023, with a crew of six, including two Italian Air Force officers and a scientists National Research Centre of Italy. While the mission had a clear research component, the profile of passengers for the second trip is more diverse. 

In addition to Virgin Galactic’s chief Astronaut Instructor, Beth Moses, the other three passengers on board VSS Unity will include 80-year-old Jon Goodwin and Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Anastatia Mayers.  

Goodwin competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics as a canoeist and will be the first Olympian astronaut and the second person with Parkinson’s disease to go to space. 

Schahaff and Mayers will not only be the first mother and daughter duo to enter into orbit but also the first two astronauts from the Caribbean.  

18-year-old Mayers will also be the second youngest astronaut after Oliver Daemen, from the Netherlands, who was also just 18 when he flew on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin NS-16 spacecraft.  

Schahaff and Mayers won their seats in a sweepstakes to raise funds for a Denver, Colorado-based nonprofit organization called Space for Humanity, which intends to extend access to space to all.  

The next launch window for Galactic 02 will be August 10, 2023. 

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