After waiting seven years to fly aboard Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic spaceline, Walton gave up on the dream and asked for a $200,000 ticket refund on his 75th birthday this past spring.
Walton, who was among the first 100 customers to sign up, is not as spry as he used to be, and he's concerned about the project delays.
'This was a decision I wish I didn't have to make,' he said recently. But 'it was time.'
Promises of space travel for the masses reached a euphoric pitch in 2004 when the experimental SpaceShipOne air-launched over the Mojave Desert and became the first privately financed, manned spacecraft to dash into space. It won the $10 million Ansari X Prize on Oct. 4, 2004, for accomplishing the feat twice in two weeks.
The flights were hailed by space enthusiasts as a leap toward opening the final frontier to civilians.
Virgin Galactic, which licensed the SpaceShipOne technology, began taking reservations before a commercial version was even built. Branson predicted back then that the maiden passenger flight would take off in 2007. Read More