In August, Anastatia Mayers made the journey of a lifetime into space with Virgin Galactic. Not only did the experience make her the youngest ever person in space, she's also part of the first mother-daughter duo to go into space together.
Studying Physics and Philosophy at the University, Anastatia says the feeling of being in space is ‘indescribable’ and the whole experience has changed her outlook on life.
“I was very focused on mentally preparing myself for it,” Anastatia says. “I knew it was something I definitely wanted to do, but I didn't want to get up there and miss that moment being inside my own head.
“I did a lot of journaling and personal work. The night before and the morning of I sat outside and listened to my favourite song and just looked up at the stars and prepared myself to be up there with them.
“[Getting on the fight] felt incredible. I think it was genuinely the best moment of my life.”
The Galactic 02 flight took off from New Mexico on 10 August. Anastatia was on board with her co-passengers, her mother Keisha Schahaff and 80-year-old Jon Goodwin.
“The entire process took about 90 minutes,” she remembers. “We suited up, boarded the plane and we were connected to the mothership. We did about a 60-minute climb up to the altitude and after that we released. It was a very strange feeling to be falling from that high up in the air.
“It was only for a few seconds, if that, but it felt like a long time. And then there was the boost when the engine kicked in.
“The entire flight was just exhilarating. I remember turning my head and looking out the window, and I was like, ‘Oh my God’. It was the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. I wish I could be back up there again.
“When I was looking back down at Earth, it was almost like being in a trance. I remember feeling an immense amount of love and connection to everything. It's just a very unifying experience. We all live here and we're all doing this together. I think knowing that and being able to see that from an overview perspective just brings everything together.”
Looking down on the Earth from space is a moment Anastatia will never forget.
“It was very satisfying to know that I actually went through with it and that it actually happened. I wish I could go back. I think the most significant moments were the before, during and after, specifically when I was laid outside looking at the stars and putting myself in that place.
“And then just seeing the Earth and seeing that everyone else was there with me and we were all in complete and total peace just looking down at it. It's an indescribable feeling.
“Then coming back down and realising everyone was so supportive and so happy and we made people proud. It was just the most honouring moment ever.”
Anastasia says her journey into space has changed her perspective on life and she’s determined to make the most of every experience going forward.
“I think [my younger self] be in disbelief. She would definitely be proud. I think she would be excited because I've worked on myself a lot with self-doubt and not thinking things are going to happen.
“I think my past self would be very proud of that. The whole experience has made me a lot more open minded and a lot more aware of how meaningful things are, like the smaller things in life.”