Steven Hawking Soars

Professor Stephen Hawking. Image credit: Zero GIt wasn’t real spaceflight, but it was the next best thing. For a short time on Thursday, Professor Stephen Hawking got to experience weightlessness aboard a specially modified Boeing 727 jet. Normally confined to a wheelchair because of his motor neuron disease, he was able to float free, tended by a team of doctors, nurses and flight staff.

The trip was arranged by US firm Zero Gravity, which normally charges $3,750 for the flight – they waived the fee for Hawking. The flight took off from the space shuttle landing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and flew out over the Atlantic Ocean. It then proceeded to make a series of eight parabolic arcs. Hawking floated free for about a minute, before he was gently guided back to the floor of the aircraft as he returned to normal gravity.

Original Source: Zero G News Release (PDF)