World’s most celebrated scientist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is going to space. He announced in an interview on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” that he accepted Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson’s invitation.
In 2015, in a statement Richard Branson expressed his hopes of being able to carry Hawking to space one day.
Branson in his statement, said, “Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the people I admire most in the world, an undisputed genius who has opened our eyes to the wonders of the universe, while also happening to be a kind and delightful man. He is the only person I have given a free ticket with Virgin Galactic, and he is signed up to fly as a Future Astronaut with us if his health permits it.”
Hawking said he has already completed a zero-gravity flight which allowed him to float weightlessly. “But my ultimate ambition is to fly into space. I thought no one would take me, but Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic and I said ‘yes’ immediately.”
Branson’s company has not announced how Hawking will make the journey to space. Hawking has a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease which has paralysed him.
He was diagnosed with this disease since he was 21. ALS is a motor-neuron disease which caused the death of a victim within five years of diagnosis. But this legend breaking all the odds and became the most renowned scientist and now he will be the first ALS patient to explore the space.
Last year, the company received an operating license for “space tourism” from the Federal Aviation Administration. It is still in the testing phase for its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft. The company hopes it will introduce commercial space flights for citizens very soon.
It will be a proud moment for humankind when Hawking who has a huge contribution in science will experience the space on his own.