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Back at Virgin Galactic's big event for its founder's first flight, Richard Branson announced that the company would be making seats on its spacecraft available via online raffle platform Omaze. The first winner of those tickets was just announced: Antigua's Keisha S. (her last name is being held confidential) and her daughter.
The idea is, you enter with $10, and the money ultimately goes to charity, but you also get a chance at the prize of two tickets to the edge of space (of course the platform gets a little something too). In this case they raised $1.7 million for Space for Humanity, which is itself an organization aimed at putting people into space.
Out of a couple hundred thousand entries from over 200 countries (obviously everyone wants to go to space) the winner was Keisha, an Antigua local who plans to take her daughter, an astrophysics student, on the flight.
"I’ve always had a lifelong love of flying and a fascination with space, and this is truly a dream come true for me. It means the world to me that I’m sharing this experience with my daughter and am hopeful that together we can inspire the next generation to follow their dreams," she said in the press release.
They'll also get a personal tour of Spaceport America from Branson himself. Should be fun — congratulations to the lucky pair. No timing yet but commercial service is expected to start at the end of next year, so that's at least a ballpark to start with.
Now, when Branson was on stage he implied these raffles would be regular events, but a Virgin Galactic representative said they "have not announced plans for future sweepstakes at this time." Observe that this leaves open the possibilities that it is not yet announced, or that there will be none. Of course it is arguably premature to give away even more tickets when the first set isn't due to fly for a year or more.