Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Hawking planning trip into space on Virgin Galactic

By Julia Hunt

Professor Stephen Hawking has said he is planning to travel into space on Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

The 75-year-old physicist and cosmologist said he had not expected to have the opportunity to experience space, but that the Virgin boss had offered him a seat.

Discussing the meaning of happiness on Good Morning Britain today, he said: "My three children have brought me great joy.

"And I can tell you what will make me happy, to travel in space.

"I thought no one would take me, but Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic, and I said yes immediately."

Professor Hawking also shared his views on US President Donald Trump and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the interview.

The scientist - who previously referred to Mr Trump as a "demagogue" - said he still admires America but fears he "may not be welcome" there any more.

"The reaction to the election of Donald Trump may have been overdone, but it represents a definite swing to a Right-wing, more authoritarian approach", he said.

"Everyday life in the United States continues much the same.

"I have many friends and colleagues there, and it is still a place I like and admire in many ways.

"I would like to visit again and to talk to other scientists but I fear that I may not be welcome."

Professor Hawking said of Mr Corbyn: "I don't believe there will be much chance of Labour winning an election under him.

"He doesn't come across as a strong leader, and he allowed the media to portray him as a Left-wing extremist, which he's not. It's no good having the right principles if you never get in power." But he added: "I will continue to vote Labour, it's the party that matters."

Professor Hawking also warned that leaving Europe "threatens Britain's status as a world leader in science and innovation".

Belfast Telegraph