During a segment on Good Morning Britain, Stephen Hawking announced that Richard Branson will make his dream of flying into suborbital space come true. The astrophysicist’s closest encounter with space travel was a weightlessness experiment on a modified Boeing 727-200.
Stephen Hawking Is Constantly Defeating All Odds
Back in 1963, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, doctors only giving him two more years to live. However, the astrophysicist defied all odds and managed to survive 44 years. Even though the disease claimed all his motor functions, Hawking found a way to communicate and work on revolutionizing the way we see black holes.
Apart from defying death, Hawking also proved his inner strength ten years ago when he participated in a zero-gravity experiment. Accompanied by a team of doctors and nurses, he embarked on a modified Boeing 727-200, which recreated zero-gravity conditions by flying in parabolic loops.
Doctors were worried about the effects of zero-gravity on the astrophysicist’s frail body, but he surprised them once again, his respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate remaining constant throughout the eight 30-seconds weightlessness sessions.
The Astrophysicist Abandoned All Hope to Ever Fly into Space
During the Good Morning Britain interview, Hawking admitted that he had abandoned all hope of flying into space, Branson’s proposal coming as a complete surprise. 700 other individuals will accompany the renowned scientist during the five minutes suborbital flight, each paying $250,000 for their seat.
SpaceShip Two, the Virgin Galactic spacecraft who will make the flight, will be lifted by a carrier ship, WhiteKnight Two, to 50,000 feet. From there, SpaceShip Two will slowly enter suborbital space where passengers will be able to enjoy five minutes of zero-gravity.
No date has been set for the first commercial suborbital flight, Virgin Galactic only announcing that test flights for SpeceShip Two resumed this February after the 2014 failed test. Spaceship One was destroyed three years ago, when the spacecraft disintegrated into the atmosphere, crashing into the Mojave Desert. Nobody was injured during the incident.
Hawking’s health has been a target for rumors and speculations lately, some being of the opinion that Branson’s offer may not materialize due to the astrophysicist’s declining condition. However, there is no proof that Hawking is feeling worse than ten years ago when he successfully went through 8 sessions of zero-gravity exposure.
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