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Mother-daughter duo win tickets to space in Virgin Galactic Lottery

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Mother-daughter duo win tickets to space in Virgin Galactic Lottery

Blue Origin’s third manned flight is scheduled for early December.

Washington:

A health coach from the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has won two tickets worth nearly $1 million to be among Virgin Galactic’s first space tourists, the company said Wednesday.

Keisha Schahaff, 44, said she wanted to take the flight to Earth orbit with her 17-year-old daughter, a science student living in Britain who dreams of working for NASA one day.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson surprised Schahaff with the news at her home in Antigua and Barbuda in early November.

“I thought I was doing a zoom interview,” she told AFP.

“When I saw Richard Branson walk in, I just started screaming! I couldn’t believe it.”

“As a little girl I was always interested in space,” she added. “This is a great opportunity for me to feel alive and just have the greatest adventure ever.”

Schahaff won the award after participating in a fundraiser organized by Virgin Galactic on the Omaze platform, raising $1.7 million.

The money will be donated to the NGO Space for Humanity, which is committed to wider access to space.

The amount she donated was not made public, but entry started with a minimum contribution of $10.

Schahaff, a health and energy coach who works primarily with women, decided to take a shot at the prize after seeing an ad on a Virgin Atlantic flight.

“I just filled out the application, did what was required…not realizing I would actually have gotten a response to it,” she said.

“I am very encouraged to inspire others to live their dream as well.”

The drive attracted nearly 165,000 participants in eight weeks, Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

‘Equal access to space’

Wednesday’s announcement was meant to show that space tourism offers opportunities for a variety of people, despite prices remaining well out of reach for most.

“Giving people of all ages and backgrounds equal access to space, and in turn the opportunity to guide and inspire others back to Earth, is what Virgin Galactic has been working towards for the past two decades,” said Branson.

The British twenty-seven-year-old flew into space on his company’s test mission in July, beating Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos in a matter of days in their billionaire space race.

Schahaff will be one of Virgin Galactic’s first space tourists, but her place in line has yet to be determined, a company spokesperson said.

Virgin Galactic has already pre-sold about 700 space tickets: 600 between 2005 and 2014 for up to $250,000 each, and another 100 since August, when they were relisted for $450,000.

Their goal is to sell a total of 1,000 before commercial flight launches, the first of which will take place at the end of 2022.

The proposed trip offers only a few minutes in weightlessness. A giant aircraft carrier takes off from a traditional airstrip with the spacecraft that looks like a large private jet, then releases it at a high altitude.

The spaceplane then ignites its own rocket motor until it is more than 50 miles (80 km) high — the limit of space, according to the US military — before gliding back to the runway.

Amazon founder Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, also offers suborbital flights, but aboard a rocket that takes off from the more traditional vertical position.

Blue Origin’s third manned flight is scheduled for early December.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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The Wheel of Time book up

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The Wheel of Time book up

As we expected, the first The wheel of time book has risen on Amazon’s best-selling list. Here’s a full look at the list from November 28 to December 4.

When the Amazon series The wheel of time premiered, we expected the books to make it onto Amazon’s best-selling list. The first book came in before the series premiered, but it was on the low end. Now that the series is in full swing, Robert Jordan’s first book tops the list.

The eye of the world by Robert Jordan took three places this week to get into the Top 3. He’s not quite at the top of the list, but he is in second place.

Outlander Book 9 up, Mercy down

There was a lot of movement on the Amazon bestselling book list. One of the most notable movers is Go tell the bees I’m gone by Diana Gabaldon. Unsurprisingly, the book moved up six places to take over the top spot on the list. The book also took first place on the list of most read books of the week.

The whole Top 3 has actually changed. The Throne of glass collection by Sarah J. Maas finished in third place. All eight books put together make an excellent Christmas present, so it’s no surprise it’s so high on the list now.

It did mean Dune by Frank Herbert was knocked out of the Top 3 for the first time in ages. It lost three places and dropped to fourth place.

However, that was not the biggest loss. The dark hours by Michael Connelly and Apples never fall of Liane Moriarty lost nine places each. However, Grace by David Baldacci lost the most places. It dropped to 19th place after losing 17 spots.

Amazon bestselling books: November 28 to December 4

  1. Go tell the bees I’m gone by Diana Gabaldon (+6)
  2. The eye of the world by Robert Jordan (+3)
  3. Throne of glass bundle of Sarah J. Maas (new acquisition)
  4. Dune by Frank Herbert (-3)
  5. The list of the judge by John Grisham (-2)
  6. Great shot by Jeff Kinney (+2)
  7. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (-3)
  8. fear no evil by James Patterson (new addition)
  9. Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson (new acquisition)
  10. State of terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton (–)
  11. becoming by Nora Roberts (new acquisition)
  12. Project Greetings by Andy Weir (-2)
  13. The wish by Nicholas Sparks (return)
  14. It ends with us by Colleen Hoover (-1)
  15. The dark hours by Michael Connelly (-9)
  16. Evelyn Hugo’s Seven Husbands by Taylor Jenkins Reid (-4)
  17. The Christmas Pig by JK Rowling (return)
  18. Apples never fall by Liane Moriarty (-9)
  19. Grace by David Baldacci (-17)
  20. The last thing he told me by Laura Dave (-6)

Which Amazon Books Are You Reading Right Now? What’s on the list to buy this week? Share your top picks in the comments below.

Get your Amazon books with two days of free shipping with Amazon Prime.

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JetBlue-Backed Weather Startup Tomorrow.io Goes Public Through SPAC Deal

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A JetBlue Airbus A220 aircraft outside of a hangar. Source: JetBlue.

Skift Take

Silicon Valley sometimes mocks travel companies for not being as agile as tech startups. So it’s refreshing to learn that JetBlue Airways has been a valuable mentor to Tomorrow.io, a tech startup now valued at over $700 million.

Sean O’Neill

tomorrow.io, a weather information company, said Tuesday it plans to go public through a merger with Pine Technology, a blank check company. The target for the pro forma enterprise value of the combined company would be approximately $729 million.

Tomorrow.io provides real-time weather forecasts relevant to business operations. The 120 corporate customers include AeroMexico, Azul, Delta and United, plus several other non-travel companies.

While not a travel startup, Tomorrow.io stands out because it is backed by JetBlue Technology Enterprises, the investment arm of the American airline JetBlue Airways.

JetBlue Technology Ventures joined others, including Koch Strategic Platforms, National Grid Partners and SoftBank Group’s SB Energy, by participating in a $75 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) to support the transaction.

In 2017, JetBlue became the startup’s first commercial customer for its services.

“Since that time, [the startup] has consistently delivered valuable results for JetBlue by minimizing operational disruption at the airport,” said Amy Burr, president of JetBlue Technology Ventures.

The startup’s investor pitch deck, embedded below, includes an aviation-related example. An unnamed airline suffered a snow storm in April 2019 that required it to defrost planes but was unable to do so as winds hit more than 50 miles per hour. The carrier used Tomorrow.io’s micro-forecasts to find periods when winds decreased, allowing for de-icing. By acting on the forecasts, the airline was able to avoid delays and save about $2 million.

More about JetBlue Tech Ventures

Updated March 4, 2021

The proposed transaction — part of a series of travel-related SPAC deals — is expected to close in the first half of 2020, at which point Tomorrow.io will then await regulatory approval to trade on the Nasdaq exchange in New York under the TMW symbol.

This is the pitch deck for investors:

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Aramark chooses stake in US multi-concept operator Starr Restaurants

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Aramark to pick stake in US multi-concept operator Starr Restaurants
Aramark chooses stake in US multi-concept operator Starr Restaurants
The partnership between the two companies is expected to fuel culinary innovation. Credit: Nenad Maric/Pixabay.

Aramark, a Philadelphia food services, facilities and uniforms provider, has agreed to purchase a minority stake in local company Starr Restaurant Organization (Starr Restaurants).

The move is part of a strategic alliance between the two companies.

The partnership with Starr Restaurants, a multi-concept operator, is expected to support culinary innovation and enhance the hospitality experience for Aramark customers.

It is also expected to create joint business development opportunities for both companies.

Marc Bruno, Chief Operating Officer of Aramark US Food and Facilities said, “Aramark and Starr Restaurants are both rooted in a passion for service and in providing memorable experiences for our customers and customers.

“Through this strategic partnership, we look forward to strengthening Aramark’s culinary authority by infusing our kitchens and concepts with the creativity and innovation that Starr Restaurants is known for.”

In addition, the partnership will enable Aramark to operate certain Starr Restaurants concepts and brands through an exclusive licensing agreement.

This arrangement is expected to help Starr Restaurants increase exposure through Aramark’s customer network, which includes business dining, sports and entertainment and higher education.

The deal with Starr Restaurants is part of Aramark’s growth strategy to develop strategic relationships and improve the customer experience.

It will also create space for knowledge sharing between culinary teams and senior leadership.

Starr Restaurant Organization founder and CEO Stephen Starr said, “This partnership is a unique opportunity for both Starr Restaurants and Aramark. It’s a great opportunity to bring my two career passions together with an industry leader like Aramark.

“The company’s impressive and consistent growth and its deep commitment to providing quality hospitality experiences make it the perfect foodservice partner for Starr Restaurants.”

In another recent development, delivery kitchen operator Reef Technology bought 2ndKitchen, a virtual kitchen for hotels and other hospitality businesses.

Under the agreement, the existing businesses of the two companies will be consolidated under the Reef brand and operate under Reef’s Hospitality unit.

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