The famous physicist said that he accepted the invitation of Richard Branson to make a voyage into space during the Virgin Galactic flight. This will be an important stage in space tourism.
The world famous physicist Stephen Hawking plans to become one of the clients of Virgin Galactic suborbital flights.
On Monday, a physicist and cosmologist told an interview with the British program Good Morning Britain that he had dreamed of visiting space since he tested a weightless flight aboard a plane flying parabolic loops (to simulate weightlessness). Most likely, he talked about flying with zero gravity in 2007 on a specially modified Boeing 727-200 - G-FORCE ONE.
“I am dreaming of space,” said Hawking, uttering the phrase in a computer voice from his wheelchair. “I thought no one would accept me, but Richard Branson offered a place in Virgin Galactic.”
Virgin Galactic has focused on space travel for over ten years aboard SpaceShipTwo. The flight plan requires that the ship rise to 50,000 feet on board the carrier vessel - WhiteKnightTwo. Then SpaceShipTwo is released, and it will take off into the suborbital space. He will stay there long enough so that tourists can survive 5 minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth. Technical difficulties and test flight in October 2014 moved the first tourist launch date of Virgin Galactic forward indefinitely. Virgin resumed test flights in 2016 and submitted a list of 700 people waiting for its place. It is said that the cost of a ticket is $ 250,000.
Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This is Lou Gehrig's disease - a condition that causes the death of neurons that control conscious muscles. The diagnosis was made in 1963. Initially it was assumed that he would live only two years. However, four decades later, he is still engaged in science.
In 2016, Peter Diamandis, one of the founders of Zero Gravity Corp. Corporation, described difficulties for a scientist in the 2007 flight. Although Hawking was certified by several doctors for flight, the Federal Aviation Administration expressed concern that he was not able to participate sufficiently.
“To make the flight as safe as possible, we created an emergency department onboard the G-FORCE ONE, and the professors accompanied four doctors and two nurses (monitoring heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, etc.),” Diamandis wrote later. While Diamandis hoped to make two 30-second weightless arcs with Hawking on board, the physicist did so well that he experienced eight.
“Following a successful flight with Hawking, in which an individual with disabilities could safely fly to Zero G, I was very proud that we had an amazing opportunity to fly with six children in a wheelchair in weightlessness,” Diamandis said. “They were children who did not go a day in their life, but they wanted to feel like Superman in flight.”