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Tom Hanks rejects Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight invitation: ‘I ain’t paying’

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Nov 04, 2021 6:35 pm

Tom Hanks ain’t paying an astronomical $28 million (P1.4 billion) to be in a 10- to 12-minute long suborbital flight.

The billionaire space race that started in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic—with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic—may have brought humanity a step closer to space tourism. But let’s face it, only a speck of the world’s population will be able to afford these space flights.

A seat on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane reportedly starts at $450,000 (P22.8 million) and even with these sky-high price, reports say  some 600 people from 58 countries have already reserved a ticket, including celebrities like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Meanwhile, Bezos’ Blue Origin is yet to reveal the price of its spaceflight tickets but it auctioned off a seat for $28 million or P1.4 billion. For the company’s second crewed spaceflight in October, Bezos tapped Star Trek actor William Shatner, who became the oldest space traveler at 90 years old.

Recently, Tom Hanks revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he, too, was asked by Bezos to join him in New Shepard’s suborbital flight.

The show’s host Jimmy Kimmel asked Hanks if it was true that he was asked by the Amazon founder to join a spaceflight before William Shatner.

Hanks, who was at the show to promote his new Sci-Fi movie Finch, said, “Well, yeah, provided I pay.”

“And it only costs 28 million bucks or something like that,” he added. “I’m doing good, Jimmy. I’m doing good. But I ain’t paying 28 [million] bucks.”

Hanks then told the audience in jest that they could “simulate” the experience of going to space.

“It’s about a 12-minute flight, is that about it? Twelve-minute flight? Ok. We could all do it in our seats right here.”

Tom Hanks snarkily 'simulates' the 12-minute spaceflight.

The Oscar-winning actor sarcastically “simulated” the spaceflight by leaning back and bouncing off his seat.

“I don’t need to spend 28 million to do that. I can do that at home,” said Hanks, who played real-life astronaut, commander Jim Lovell, in the movie Apollo 13.

Kimmel asked the actor if he would consider flying in space if it were free. Hanks replied, “I’d do it on occasion, just in order to experience the joy. Pretending I’m a billionaire.”

On the 52nd anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, Bezos and his brother Mark blasted off to space aboard fully autonomous space vehicle, New Shepard, with 82-year-old former test pilot Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Dutch student Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest person, first teenager and first person born in the 21st century to travel to space.

Watch Tom Hanks' interview with Jimmy Kimmel below: