The first mother-daughter duo to go to space have told DailyMail.com that they feel more grounded and connected to Earth after venturing to the final frontier.
Keisha Schahaff, 46 and her daughter Anastatia Mayers, 18, from Antigua, made the comments hours after being part of Virgin Galactic’s first space tourist flight.
‘This experience has grounded me. Awoken me,’ Mayers said when asked what was next for the crew after the incredible mission.
‘I feel more connected to Earth and motivated to explore and be even more adventurous. For me, in the future, it will just be adventure and searching for the most incredible experiences.’
Schahaff and her daughter won their seats on the rocket-powered space plane, which would normally cost $450,000 per person, in a fundraising drawing.
‘Obviously, nothing will top this,’ Mayers concluded after the flight. Though the teenager, who is now the second youngest person ever to go to space, revealed how she had ‘second thoughts’ about whether she wanted to do it last night.
Keisha Schahaff (right), 46 and her daughter Anastatia Mayers (left), 18, said they feel more grounded and motivated in life after flying to space
The mother and daughter were also joined by Jon Goodwin, 80, who is now the first Olympian and the second person with Parkinson’s in space.
It was a long time coming for Goodwin, who paid $250,000 for his seat back in 2005.
Mayers is in her second year at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, studying Philosophy and Physics to become an astrobiologist.
She told reporters about her feelings of uncertainty about the spaceflight Wednesday evening.
‘Last night, second thoughts, but then I woke up and felt like I was ready,’ said Mayers.
Schaffaf also felt motivated after the spaceflight.
‘I am going to make a strong impact to motivate younger ones,’ she said reponding to DailyMail.com’s question.
‘This experience has given me this beautiful feeling that if I can do this, I can do anything. I am going to take the next step and see what comes.’
Goodwin also spoke to reporters after the historic mission, sharing how his Parkinson’s has not stopped him from living his life. He was diagnosed in 2014.
The pair was joined by former Jon Goodwin, 80, who is now the first Olympian and the second person with Parkinson’s in space.
The first mother-daughter duo in space told DailyMail.com they feel more connected to the Earth after the mission
‘The nicest thing for me was the acceptance by Virgin Galactic because when I signed up in September 2005, I did not have Parkinson’s.
‘Nine years ago, I thought that was the end of me going to space. They have done various health checks and everything else over the years, which never stopped me from doing what I wanted.
‘I am hoping I instill in people around the world, as well as people with Parkinson’s, that it doesn’t stop you from doing things if you have some illness that has inflicted you.’
Schahaff and her daughter won their seats in a drawing that raised $1.7 million in grants for Space for Humanity, a nonprofit aimed at expanding access to space.
After learning Richard Branson gifted her a seat, she called Mayers on the phone: ‘Now that you’re 18, you are going to space.’
‘It is a childhood dream come true,’ Schahaff told reporters upon landing. ‘I’ve been to space and back with my daughter. And if anyone is wondering, the Earth is round.’
The crew took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico after saying goodbye to friends and family in the crowd
Schahaff is a health and wellness coach specializing in helping women achieve balance through healthy eating, energy work, and a variety of empowering wellness practices, according to her website.
The flight was historic for several reasons. Schahaff and her daughter were the first Antiguans to go to space.
For Virgin Galactic, this is the first time a commercial crew of passengers who were not trained had left the Earth’s atmosphere – an ambition of the Richard Branson-founded company that has been decades in the making.
And Goodwin, a former canoeist, became only the second person in history with Parkinson’s to go to space.
Goodwin, from Newcastle in northern England, secured his seat as the company’s first paying customer 18 years ago.
Goodwin’s son David told DailyMail.com on the runway this morning that his father’s spaceflight has been a long time coming.
And when asked how his father is the first Olympian and second oldest and individual with Parkinson’s, David said: ‘My father likes to tick a lot of boxes.’
Goodwin is a retired slalom canoeist, has been a regular and leading competitor in the Ferrari Hillclimb Championship since 1992, winning in 2000 and 2008, and has more Class wins than any other competitor – as of the end of the 2020 season.
He is married to Pauline, who also competed in the Olympic games in 1972 and 1976. She was in New Mexico cheering her husband, son David, grandson and daughter-in-law Lily.
Pictured is the moment the spaceplane and mothership separated during the spaceflight
Anastatia Mayers takes in the incredible views of space. She soared 50 miles above Earth’s surface with her mother
Goodman’s wife Pauline ran straight to her husband after he put two feet back on the ground
The flight was historic for several reasons. Schahaff and her daughter were the first Antiguans to go to space
The crew took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at 8:30am MT, strapped inside Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane, Unity, which was attached to the underbelly of the mothership, Eve.
The planes soared to more than 44,000 feet above Earth’s surface, allowing Unity to separate by igniting its thrusters.
Unity took off, climbing to 50 miles above the surface and hovered in place to let the passengers experience zero gravity and see the incredible views of our planet.
Goodwin, from Newcastle, England, described being a passenger on Virgin Galactic’s first space tourism flight as ‘completely surreal’ and ‘very moving.’
‘It was far more dramatic than I imagined it would be. It was the pure acceleration – Mach 3 in eight-and-a-half seconds – (that) was completely surreal, and the re-entry was a lot more dramatic than I imagined.
‘In fact, I would’ve said it was out of control if I didn’t know anything different. But it was a completely surreal experience.
‘The most impressive thing was looking at Earth from space – the pure clarity was very moving. Without a doubt, the most exciting day in my life.’
Goodwin added the flight ‘exceeded [his] wildest dreams’ and hoped it would inspire others with Parkinson’s to do things out of the ordinary.
Schahaff won a place on the flight alongside her daughter.
The pair became the first astronauts from the Caribbean and were part of the first flight dominated by women.
‘I’m still up there, I’m not here yet, and it’s just amazing that you can land so smoothly on the runway coming back from space, Schahaff said:
‘It was so comfortable, it was really the best ride ever, and I would love to do this again.’
She said that sand from her home country of Antigua and Barbuda, the nation’s flag and her favorite shell were among the possessions she took with her on the Virgin Galactic flight.
Mayers took a ring given to her by her boyfriend and pictures of loved ones.
Goodwin reached in his pocket, pulling out jewelry from his wife Pauline, a former Olympian.
Pauline was at Spaceport Thursday to cheer on her husband, her son, grandson and daughter-in-law.
Virgin Galactic’s first private customer flight had been delayed for years, but Thursday’s mission means Richard Branson’s company can now start offering monthly rides, joining Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the space tourism business.