The highly influential theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, died on 14 March 2018, at the age of 76. Despite the disapproval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), he was able to achieve his lifelong dream of experiencing weightlessness in zero gravity with the assistance of serial entrepreneur Peter Diamandis.
In an interview for a recent episode of Business Insider’s podcast “Success! How I Did It,” Diamandis said watching Hawking smile as he floated in zero gravity was one of the best moments in his life.
“And it was just a momentous event for me to give this man, who so desired this, … such an amazing experience,” Diamandis said. “And I’m so happy to have had a chance to deliver that to him.”
Diamandis met his inspiration and hero Hawking, through his company the XPRIZE, which provides investment incentives to entrepreneurs and engineers who perceives solutions to challenges like commercializing space flight. “And he said, ‘Can you get me into space?'” Diamandis told Business Insider.
“And I said, ‘I can’t do that right now, but I can give you a chance to fly on zero g,'” he said. One of Diamandis’ companies was Zero G, which offers customers with an opportunity to take a flight within Earth’s atmosphere that permits them to experience several minutes of weightlessness in zero gravity.
“I thought the idea of the world’s expert in gravity getting a chance to experience zero gravity would be amazing,” Diamandis said.
“I have been wheelchair-bound for almost four decades and the chance to float free in zero g will be wonderful,” Hawking told the press ahead of his flight.