Branson and Hawking

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking dropped a big hint yesterday that he would like to take a suborbital spaceflight with Virgin Galactic: as the BBC reported, Hawking said that, “My next goal is to go into space; maybe Richard Branson will help me.” MSNBC’s Alan Boyle follows up on this statement and finds that, yes, Virgin Galactic would be happy to help Hawking realize his goal, and that Hawking might be able to experience weightnessless on a Zero Gravity Corp. aircraft flight as soon as next year. (Be sure to skim through the dozens of comments to Boyle’s Cosmic Log post: while most people are very supportive of Hawking’s desire to fly in space, there are a few that criticized the “morons” who “want to spend billions into a fairy tale journey into outer space.”)

An interesting note: this is not the first time that Hawking has been linked to Virgin Galactic. In a number of previous reports, like this Business Week article back in August, Hawking was listed among celebrities who were either interested in such a flight or who had already signed up. However, since those lists included people like William Shatner and Sigourney Weaver who have since stated that they have no interest in flying in space, it’s been tough to take those lists seriously.

4 comments to Branson and Hawking

  • Chance

    ““morons” who “want to spend billions into a fairy tale journey into outer space.””

    Fine, I’m a moron. I just need a billion…heck, 200,000 will do.

  • zenpunk

    I don’t know if I would take those comments at face value. Wouldn’t it be too stressful to ride a rocket for someone with Hawkings condition? He can’t move, how could he go zero-g and then get back in his seat?

  • […] There was also a hubbub this week when the British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Stephen Hawking plans to fly on a Virgin Galactic suborbital flight. This has been a pretty persistent story, which I last noted here a little over a month ago. (Unlike some other celebrities that have been reported to be Virgin Galactic customers, Hawking does appear to be really interested in going.) MSNBC digs a little deeper into reports that Hawking will first take a zero-g flight some time this year, suggesting that opportunity could come as soon as April, when Hawking is scheduled to visit the US. […]

  • John Chase

    Why shouldn’t Mr Hawking go into space flight?
    I hope he makes it. If there is anyone more deserving, I don’t know of them.
    Godspeed Mr Hawking and have a great flight!!
    I’m so psyched for you!

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