Shortly after the VSS Unity spacecraft landed back at Spaceport America (it was carried close to the edge of space by mothership VMS Eve, after which it used its own engine for the last stage of ascent and the descent), Branson held a press conference. Such a momentous occasion couldn’t go without an equally momentous announcement, and it came with his revealing a partnership with Omaze to make “space accessible to everyone.”
In short, Virgin and Omaze have set up a raffle that will see one lucky winner and one guest of his or her choosing fly to the edge of space in early 2022. The big prize also includes a one-on-one with Branson and a tour of Spaceport America, as well as air fair covered to and from New Mexico, and accommodation. Omaze has a very simple system for raffles: the higher the individual donation and the number of donations, the more chances you have to win. You can also enter the sweepstakes without a donation, but that gets you only one chance to win – and not a trace of the satisfaction you feel knowing you helped others.
The idea behind the sweepstakes is to fund space organizations, non-profits and charities. In other words, donations will straight to Charities Aid Foundation America (“CAF America”) and Space for Humanity, which will then use the money for grants to “expand access to space, train our leaders of tomorrow and contribute to a culture of interconnectedness.”
As Richard Branson said in the announcement, which you can see in the first video below, when he was a kid, he could only dream of flying. Today, he is able to say he’s been to space, so he wants other dreamers to never quit trying. Of course, he’s also a billionaire and that helps with the fulfilling of wishes part. Other dreamers not in the same privileged position have a chance now with the raffle, either for free or for a maximum of $100.
Space is for all humanity, which is why we're giving YOU the chance to win 2 seats on one of the first @virgingalactic flights to space! ENTER NOW - all donations go to non-profit @spacehumanity: https://t.co/sjz1KV5f6z @omaze #Unity22 pic.twitter.com/pBzutUPJBl— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 12, 2021
I was once a child with a dream looking up to the stars. Now I'm an adult in a spaceship looking down to our beautiful Earth. To the next generation of dreamers: if we can do this, just imagine what you can do https://t.co/Wyzj0nOBgX #Unity22 @virgingalactic pic.twitter.com/03EJmKiH8V— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021