Monday, April 15, 2024 Apr 15, 2024
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The Dallas Dude Who Just Became an Astronaut

Robie Vaughn went really fast and high on a Virgin Galactic spaceplane.
Photo courtesy Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic launched a spaceplane Friday from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. Onboard were four space tourists who’d each paid $450,000 to become astronauts. One of them was from Dallas.

I’m told Robie Vaughn, of Vaughn Capital Partners, took his entire staff with him to watch the launch. On his Virgin astronaut page, it mentions that on his flight, “he carried a string of flags from his Seven Summits expeditions and photos of his family.” What goes unmentioned: Vaughn is responsible for resurrecting the United States’ skeleton program.

Skeleton is like bobsledding, except the sled is way smaller and you ride it headfirst. In 1994, after a few glasses of red wine at Cafe Pacific, he and a buddy decided they’d try to get into the Olympics by participating in a sport that hadn’t been part of the Games since 1948. It took a few years, but Vaughn eventually became a world-ranked slider. So did his wife, Fallon. And when the sport returned to the Olympics, in 2002, Vaughn marched with the U.S. team into Rice-Eccles Stadium, in Park City, Utah, for the opening ceremonies of the Games—but not as a slider.

To learn about the rest of Vaughn’s skeleton adventure, read this story from 2006: “Headfirst at 80 m.p.h.


Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…

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