The man who was speculated to die at the age of 23 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but at age 75 he is still alive and zooming around in his wheelchair, defying all odds. Most importantly though, he is now preparing to go to space as a cosmologist and the physicist has announced to being a part of Richard Branson’s spaceship.
Professor Hawking revealed this stunning news on Good Morning Britain, almost complaining that he thought no one would ever ask me to go to space. But
“Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic, and I said yes immediately”, he said.
Richard Branson’s spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, has been planning to carry people into space as a commercial mission. Mr. Branson’s flight has been scheduled to lift off in 2009, only marred and delayed by a range of problems and disasters.
In a very candid interview, he said that his
“three children have brought me great joy – and I can tell you what will make me happy, to travel in space”.
Hawking added while speaking with his computerized voice from the wheelchair,
“My ambition is to fly into space. I thought no one would take me, but [Virgin founder] Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic.”
In 2016, Zero Gravity Corp. co-founder Peter Diamandis spoke on the possible problems in flying Hawking on the 2007 flight, which had to simulate weightlessness for a few seconds. And even though Hawking was certified by multiple doctors to be safe during the flight, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) raised concerns about him not being able-bodied enough to participate.
“To maximize the chance of a safe flight, we set up an emergency room onboard G-FORCE ONE and supported Professor Hawking with four physicians and two nurses accompanying him on the trip (monitoring heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, etc.),” Diamandis later wrote.
Diamandis then looked to make Hawking fly two 30-second weightless arcs to test the physicist. But surprisingly Hawking did so well that he went through eight of them!
“On the heels of this successful flight with Hawking showing a disabled individual could safely fly in Zero G, I was very proud that we next had the amazing opportunity to fly six wheelchair-bound teenagers into zero gravity,” Diamandis noted. “These were kids who had never walked a day in their lives, yet they got to soar like Superman on their flight.”
More power to you Mr. Hawking!