May 26, 2022

If you need more credibility that we have entered a new era of human spaceflight, this mission should finally solve that problem for you. Houston-based startup Axiom Space will launch its first fully private manned mission to the International Space Station on Friday, kicking off a 10-day mission that is likely to be the first of many for the company.

The X-1 mission will lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at approximately 11:17 a.m. ET on the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 spacecraft. The four-man crew will arrive at the ISS on Saturday and spend a total of eight days on the station. spend time.

The crew consists of:

  • Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who will serve as mission commander. López-Alegria has completed four spaceflights, spent more than 257 days in space, and completed 10 spacewalks for a total of 67 hours and 40 minutes. He currently works for Axiom as Vice President of Business Development.
  • Real estate investor Larry Connor, who will be the mission’s pilot.
  • Ayton Stibbe, a former Israeli pilot and investor who will serve as a specialist.
  • Canadian investor Mark Peat, who will be the second mission specialist.

Connor, Stibbe and Petit paid for their tickets; Although the exact price has not been announced, it is likely in the millions, Axiom CEO Michael Saffredini suggested. On board, the crew will conduct several scientific experiments – and in fact, Axiom emphasizes the scientific, not the tourist nature of the flight.

“I think space tourism plays an important role, but Axiom is not about that,” Lopez-Alegria told reporters in February. The crew are “not space tourists,” he said.

A second X-2 mission led by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is scheduled for early 2023.

Axiom isn’t just about private spaceflight. NASA has also urged the company to install a commercial module on the ISS, with the first module due in late 2024. The company’s ultimate goal is to dismantle the modules and use them as a new station after decommissioning the ISS at the turn of the century.

“This mission is a really important milestone in our plans to develop sustainable [low Earth orbit] economy,” Angela Hart, NASA’s commercial manager for the LEO program, said at a media briefing Thursday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.