Stephen Hawking Flies in Zero G

Stephen Hawking Flies Zero G in Google EarthThe eminent and world-renowned astrophysicist Dr. Stephen Hawking wants to fly in space. Yesterday he got closer than many of us by experiencing zero gravity for several minutes. Dr. Hawking, almost completely paralyzed by Lou Gehrig’s disease and communicating largely through eye movements, took a flight on a specially modified aircraft with a padded interior designed to give people who want to experience the zero gravity of space. The company, Zero G, has been offering these commercial flights for a couple of years, and recently received FAA approval to fly disabled people on the flights. Dr. Hawking was accompanied by an entourage of caretakers and medical equipment (for safety purposes). Money was raised for his flight and over $100,000 will go toward a charity he has chosen. You can see a portion of his flight which flew over NASA Kennedy Space Center and landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility, in Google Earth here (courtesy of FBOweb.com which showed his flight in Google Earth in real-time yesterday).
You can read more about Dr. Hawking’s flight at the Washington Post or Reuters. The founder and CEO of Zero G, Peter H. Diamandis, has been a friend of mine for many years. He also founded the X Prize which was designed to help encourage private space travel and achieved world-wide recognition when Burt Rutan’s Space Ship One won the $10 Million dollar prize in 2004. Larry Page, co-founder of Google, is on the Board of Trustees of the X Prize Foundation.
[Update: Oops, I mis-spelled Dr. Hawking's name accidentally earlier - fixed now - my apologies!]

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