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

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steve_jobs_atronaut

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?