Tag Archives: celebrities

Tom Hanks in Apollo 13

Celebrities Becoming Astronauts – part 2

As we are nearing the end of 2013, let’s have a look at some more people who will be able to  call themselves astronauts soon…

Actor/Director Tom Hanks – one of the most recognised actors of his generation all time, Hanks starred in block busters like Philadelphia, Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Toy Story and Apollo 13. Aside from his acting creds, he also successfully collaborated with film director Steven Spielberg on several movies, as well as the 2001 mini-series Band of Brothers and its sequel The Pacific. A supporter of NASA‘s manned space program, Hanks has said that he originally wanted to be an astronaut but “didn’t have the math.” He does serve on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, a nonprofit educational space advocacy organisation and worked on several space related series and films over the years.

Singer Katy Perry – after buying her now ex Russell Brand a ticket, Perry decided to do the deed as well and get one for herself the year after. “I’m so into extraterrestrial stuff,” she said. “It’s very difficult for me to look up into the sky in the middle of the night and not think that our planet is one of… a bajillion.” Like she sings in a recent record called E.T. with Kayne West: “It’s supernatural. Extraterrestrial” Yes, it might be…

Princess Beatrice – who also goes by ‘Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York’ as the eldest daughter of HRH The Duke of York and his now divorced wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, is destined to become the first royal in space. Born on the 8th August 1988 (8/8/88), she’s not a stranger to firsts mind you – she already became the first member of the British Royal Family to complete the London Marathon, raising money for Children in Crisis. Her link to this space adventure? Long-term boyfriend Dave Clark is head of astronaut relations at the company and Prince Andrew is reportedly also interested in the project. It’s good to have friends in high places, but when you are fifth in line for the throne, you don’t need any help surely.

Director Bryan Singer – won critical acclaim for his work on The Usual Suspects, and in recent years has worked on several sci-fi movies including the X-Men series and Superman Returns. Unknown perhaps to most people, it isn’t actually Singer’s first trip to space. In 2002, Patrick Stewart (who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard) got him to appear in Star Trek Nemesis as a Starfleet officer on the bridge of the Enterprise, after finding out that Singer was a lifelong Star Trek fan. Perhaps equally exciting as an actual trip to space, and definitely cheaper.

Actor Ashton Kutcher – signed up in April 2012 to become Virgin Galactic’s 500th customer, which Richard Branson tweeted about himself. “I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him. He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself,” Branson wrote. Starring in several movies, he is perhaps most famous for his portrayal of Michael Kelso in the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show. Another feat Kutcher produced was that he became the first user of Twitter to have more than 1,000,000 followers. One million. Impressive.

Apollo 11's Walk of Fame plaque

Celebrities Becoming Astronauts

With Bob Geldof just having announced that he too signed up to travel into space as a passenger on a commercial space flight, let’s have a look at a small portion of this eclectic mix of celebrities, scientists, and entrepeneurs who have taken the same leap of faith already and dug deep into their pockets for it.

Scientist Professor Stephen Hawking – the man needs no introduction. Having more acronyms behind his name than a systems architect’s CV, including being a Commander in the Order of the British Empire, he is not only the most famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist who’s ever lived, but possibly also the most famous disabled person on the planet. This came to show with his appearance at the London 2012 Paralympics in which he had a major part. He is the author of several books that made space science popular with the masses and truly a living legend and inspiration to us all. Probably also the only person to receive a free Virgin Galactic ticket! Not only to fulfill his own dream of going into space, but to raise awareness for what he sees as humanity’s vital mission to explore the stars.

Designer Philippe Starck – the son of an aeronautics engineer, Starck is equally well known as an interior designer, a designer of consumer goods, and for his industrial design and his architectural creations. His concept of democratic design led him to focus on mass-produced consumer goods rather than one-off pieces, seeking ways to reduce cost and improve quality in mass-market goods. He has several restaurants to his credit and for the past thirty years has been designing hotels all over the world. Starck was also the first designer to participate in the TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment & Design).

Entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk – see here

Comedian Russell Brand – awkward! Brand’s ticket was bought for his 35th birthday by his ex-wife Katy Perry. After hosting Big Brother’s Big Mouth where he achieved notoriety, had starred in several movies including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and did voice acting for Despicable Me and its sequel just recently. In the dictionary it would probably have his picture next to the word ‘eccentric’ and while he managed to get himself fired from both MTV and the BBC in a very public manner because of his behaviour, it’s his past with drugs and alcohol that influences much of his comedic material.

Bob Geldof – Irish singer-songwriter and political activist, Geldof rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band the Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. He co-wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, one of the best-selling singles of all time, but Geldof is these days perhaps even more known for his activism, especially his anti-poverty efforts concerning Africa. In 1984 he co-founded Band Aid and went on to organise the charity super-concert Live Aid among other pursuits. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II, among numerous other awards and nominations.