Stephen Hawking has reserved a seat in VSS Unity, the new spacecraft with which Richard Branson – founder of Virgin Galactic – is confident of finally making the dream of space tourism a reality . Hawking, who has officiated at a distance from the ship’s “baptism”, has confirmed to Good Morning Britain that Branson himself has offered him a ticket … “And of course I said yes.”
“Having three children was a source of joy in my life,” acknowledged the British physicist at age 75. “But I can say now what would make me really happy: traveling in space.”
Hawking enjoyed himself as a kid on his first “zero gravity” flight in 2007 on a NASA plane, and is eager to have an experience that would go this far further: flying 110 kilometers high at a speed of 4,000 kilometers per hour (and with five other “weightless” passengers).
More than 700 aspirants to special tourists have already booked a ticket on Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flights (at 230,000 euros per head). Branson initially promised that the first flights would be before 2010, but technical problems and the accident suffered in 2014 by the aircraft Entreprise (which caused the death of a pilot) have delayed the plans and there is not yet a date on the horizon.
A flight of hope
The launch of VSS Unity a little over a year ago has returned hopes to the space flight tycoon, who celebrated the new spacecraft as “a great testament to what can be achieved with true teamwork and a common purpose.”
The pull of Stephen Hawking has been instrumental in reviving interest in space tourism. Overcoming the health problems of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that has been suffering for 50 years, wrapped in a new system that allows it to “speak” more quickly (with the same mechanical voice), the British physicist has returned to an intense public activity . In his statements to British television he has even spoken of Brexit and Donald Trump …
“Trump is a demagogue, which has been chosen by people who have been marginalized by elites, in a kind of revolt against globalization. Their priority will be to satisfy those voters who are not liberal and not well informed. I still admire America, and I would like to visit it and talk to other scientists, but I am afraid I will not be welcome. ”
Hawking has warned the British Government of the risks of “a Brexit run by the tough wing of the Conservative Party that can make us an isolated nation.” The Cambridge scientist has asked politicians to ensure that the UK maintains “all possible links with Europe and the rest of the world so that we can remain world leaders in science and innovation.”
The author of “Brief History of Time,” a longtime Labor voter, says Jeremy Corbyn is trapped in a kind of “black hole” … “I do not think we can win an election under his leadership. A strong leader, and has allowed the media to portray him as a far-left politician, when in reality he is not … But I will continue to vote for Labor , they are the party that really matters. “