Steve Jobs Wanted To Be an Astronaut, Nearly Flew On Challenger [Crazy Rumors]

Steve Jobs Wanted To Be an Astronaut, Nearly Flew On Challenger [Crazy Rumors]

Earlier this week, I was interviewed by a Russian TV crew about Apple. They were a bit surly and aggressive, not like polished, ingratiating TV people here in the U.S.

They kept asking strange questions about Steve Jobs, as is if he were a crooked oligarch. “Vy does Steve Joybs vant to be dictator? Vy does he vant to dominate ze vorld?”

Then the producer, who looked like an aging Chechen war criminal, told me that Jobs tried to get a ride on the doomed Challenger Space Shuttle mission in 1986, instead of the school teacher, Christa McAuliffe. He tried to buy his way on, he said.

I was pretty surprised. I’d never heard this before. When I asked where he got this story, he said this was “information from Russia,” and kinda winked, like it was a KGB leak or something. But he acted as though it was fact.

If the story had dated from 2001, I would have been more inclined to believe it. That’s when the first space tourist, Dennis Tito, flew on a Russian Soyuz rocket. However, in the early ’80s, NASA launched a program to put private citizens into space called the Space Flight Participation Program. The Teacher in Space Project, which put poor McAuliffe on the flight, was an outgrowth of that.

I throw this out because it’s a fun story, nothing else. Has anyone else heard anything like it? Could it be true?

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  • Fagner Pereira

    Leander good day I will be presenting a seminar on the book of his “The head of Steve Jobs” but I need information about you. who has studied school, college who graduated companies that has worked, what led you to do that book is great to be able to give me the information I send to my E-mail: (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)now thank you.

  • Chris

    those tv people probably were KGB agents planning to kill steve jobs

  • Allan Cook

    What American boy born in 1955 didn’t want to be an astronaut?

  • Z25MN6

    Let’s see… In 1986, a year after having been cut off at the knees by John Sculley, Jobs was scrambling to put together $10MM to buy George Lucas’ graphic division and get back in the business. So, yeah, right, it makes sense that he would completely turn away from that, and squander what time and capital he had at the time to take six months away from the quest to train to go into space.

    Steve Jobs may be a lot of things, but he is not a playboy. Sounds like the vodka talking to me.

  • Chris

    he was not ill the last years, he want just secretly training for a space vacation :D

  • bojennett

    He couldn’t possibly have done it. He was busy doctoring Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate while hiding the remaining JFK evidence and editing additional footage from the fake moon landing.

  • androidin

    lols he look better as a developer not that
    http://www.cultofmac.com

  • jordonmose

    Wow great information you have provided over here regarding the steve and great person as an nature as per my knowledge…

    gps fleet tracking

  • Fanagor04

    I’m Russian. Maybe we can speak English badly, but we can also read English :)
    You should read more. Of cource it’s true. You can read it in:
    Jeffrey S. Young, William L. Simon iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, Part 1, Chapter 4

  • Asdfas

    That is a crappy photoshop job on that Steve Jobs astronaut picture. At least try, next time.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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