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First-Ever Mother-Daughter Duo to Travel to Space Together This Week After Winning Contest The two will board Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity on Thursday morning.

By Emily Rella

A mother and daughter from the Caribbean are about to make history after winning Virgin Galactic's contest to fly to space.

Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her 18-year-old daughter, Anastasia Mayers, are set to jet on the space exploration company's Galactic 02 mission, Virgin Galactic's second commercial space mission on Thursday, per a release by Virgin Galactic.

The two will be the first mother and daughter to travel to space together, with Mayers being the second-youngest person to ever fly out of orbit. The duo will also make history as the first-ever astronauts from the Caribbean.

Related: Want to Go to Space? Virgin Galactic Will Launch First Commercial Flight in June, Aiming For Monthly Flights After August

The pair, who began hands-on training in New Mexico this weekend, had an unusual way of ending up on the commercial flight — they won a competition through Omaze, which raised over $1.7 million in grants for the nonprofit, Space for Humanity, which aims to "expand access to space for all of humanity."

Schahaff randomly entered to contest while on a Virgin flight from Antigua to London two years ago and was shocked to find Richard Branson swarming her yard last November, with a Virgin crew telling her that she won the contest.

"As I grew older, my interest in space exploration only intensified, and I aspired to become an astronaut. However, the reality of not having any avenues in my country or the Caribbean to pursue this dream left me feeling unsure," Schahaff told Daily Mail of her lifelong fascination with space. "Being able to open doors for others to follow their dreams of becoming astronauts is truly amazing and fills my heart with pride and gratitude."

The pair will be joined by former British Olympian Jon Goodwin, who will become the second person ever to fly to space with Parkinson's Disease.

Schahaff and Mayers' tickets are valued at a whopping $900,000.

Related: 'Have We Not Learned Anything': Virgin Galactic Slammed For Announcing Commercial Flights Days After Titan Submersible Implosion

Mayers, who is currently a sophomore at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, told her school paper in an interview that she was shocked when her mother told her the news, and that she had only begun telling her closest friends about the mission recently.

"I've been doing my best to mentally prepare for it, trying to understand this is actually happening. I wanted to create some goals and figure out the things I want to get out of this. I'm just trying to make it a meaningful and lasting experience," Mayers said. " I want to be able to explore space and share that with the rest of society. I want to be able to make this information and this experience very accessible for other people as it now is for myself."

Virgin Galactic's first-ever space tourism flight, Galactic 01, took place on June 29. It was a scientific research mission flying three crew members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy, per the company.

The VSS Unity is set to take off on the Galactic 02 mission around 11 a.m. EST from Virgin Galactic's launch site in New Mexico and is estimated to last around 90 minutes. The flight will be live-streamed on Virgin's website.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Virgin Galactic was down nearly 50% in a one-year period.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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