Denver, a pop-folk singer of the 1970's, was a pilot and dying to get into space. Before the Challenger disaster, he had almost convinced publicity-obsessed NASA management to let him fly on a shuttle mission. That was impossible afterward, and he then became the first American to discuss paying the Russians for a flight into space. But the Russians wanted $20 million for the trip, beyond Denver's means.
The astronauts were completely hostile to Denver, figuring the kind of 'guest astronaut' flights he had promoted were denying them flights into space, and likening his discussions with the Soviets with Jane Fonda's going to Hanoi. Denver never got into space, wrote one semi-popular song about spaceflight, and died in his own (type plane) in a crash on 1988?
Birth Place: Roswell, New Mexico.