Virgin Galactic unveils the first winner of a free trip to space – Engadget

Virgin Galactic has announced the winner of its Omaze giveaway. Announced in July, the sweepstakes saw the company give everyday people a chance to earn two tickets to the edge of space. The winner is Keisha S, a health coach from Antigua and Barbuda. She plans to give the second ticket to her daughter, who, it turns out, is an astrophysics student.

“I’ve always had a lifelong love of flying and a fascination with space, and this is truly a dream come true for me,” said Keisha. “It means the world to me. I hope to share this experience with my daughter, so together we can inspire the next generation to follow their dreams.”

While the sweepstakes was free to enter, you could also donate to Space for Humanity, a charity devoted to making spaceflight more accessible, to earn more entries. Virgin Galactic estimates it raised about $1.7 million in grants for the organization’s Citizen Astronaut Program in that way.

As we noted when the company first announced the sweepstakes, it was a way for Virgin Galactic to drum up hype for its space tourism efforts. At the same time, it was something of a moment for private spaceflight. The idea of winning tickets to space wasn’t something a person could dream of when government-funded agencies were the only organizations flying to space.

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