Richard Branson discusses his test flight for Virgin Galactic after touching down safely Sunday, saying he wants to make space travel accessible for everyone.
This Jupiter, Florida-based space enthusiast is ready for take-off.
Kellie Gerardi, a 32-year-old bioastronautics researcher and social media influencer is gearing up for the flight of her life – to space with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
Kellie Gerardi, a 32-year-old bioastronautics researcher and social media influencer is gearing up for space with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. (Kellie Gerardi).
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed with excitement,” Gerardi told FOX News in an email interview. “Calling this my ‘life’s dream’ doesn’t seem to do it justice. I could have never dreamed of this moment.”
The out-of-this-world opportunity will be on board an upcoming space flight on the VSS Unity out of New Mexico. The spaceship’s official launch kicked off Sunday with Virgin Galactic founder Branson blasting off 53 miles above Earth. Branson’s company is planning to test out more flights ahead of its commercial launch slated for 2022 with the goal to help make flying to space more accessible. (Virgin Galactic’s current ticket price for going to space is $250,000 per person).
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While Gerardi is unable to reveal details on when her mission will launch, to prepare for the journey, she says she’s loading up on vitamins, and carefully choreographing her movements and practicing them for the cabin in a test spacesuit.
Gerardi says she’ll prepare for the journey by carefully choreographing her movements and practicing them for the cabin in a test spacesuit. (Gerardi).
“Because this is a dedicated research mission, my flight will involve additional training and operational protocols that differ from a tourist flight. I am beyond excited for astronaut training,” Gerardi said.
Gerardi, who grew up living around two hours from NASA’s rocket-launching operation in Cape Canaveral, discovered her passion for space when she joined The Explorers Club – New York-based group that promotes the study of scientific exploration. And she made a name for herself on social media where her 144,000 followers will be updated on her journey to space.
Now, Gerardi has made it her mission to find like-minded individuals trying to democratize access to space, and promote opportunities for women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) fields, considering fewer than 20% of people who have been to space are women.
Gerardi and her daughter Delta V. (Kellie Gerardi).
“Less than one hundred women in history (and only a handful of moms) have ever flown to space, and I really believe representation matters,” Gerardi says, adding that she wants her daughter, 3-year-old, Delta V – and all children — to know “the sky’s the limit.”
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“The most rewarding part for me has definitely been telling our 3-year-old daughter, Delta V. I get emotional when I think about what it means for her to watch me, her Mommy, become an astronaut,” Gerardi said.
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