A SpaceX capsule carrying three paying customers and a former NASA astronaut has arrived at the International Space Station, finishing the first leg of this first-of-its-kind mission that will last about 10 days, reports CNN.
SpaceX tourism mission
The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday morning. And the spacecraft, which separated from the rocket after reaching orbit, spent about 20 hours free flying through orbit as it maneuvered closer to the ISS.
The trip was brokered by the Houston, Texas-based startup Axiom Space, which seeks to book rocket rides, provide all the necessary training, and coordinate flights to the ISS for anyone who can afford it. It’s all in line with the US government’s and the private sector’s goal to boost commercial activity on the ISS and beyond.
On board this mission, called AX-1, are Michael Lopez-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut turned Axiom employee who is commanding the mission; Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe; Canadian investor Mark Pathy; and Ohio-based real estate magnate Larry Connor.
After reaching the ISS aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, they joined seven professional astronauts already on board the space station — including three NASA astronauts, a German astronaut, and three Russian cosmonauts.
It’s not the first time paying customers or otherwise non-astronauts have visited the ISS, as Russia has sold seats on its Soyuz spacecraft for various wealthy thrill seekers in years past. But this is the first mission that includes a crew entirely comprised of private citizens with no active members of a government astronaut corps. It’s also the first time private citizens have traveled to the ISS on a US-made spacecraft.
To know everything about the trip, click here.
— Axiom Space (@Axiom_Space) April 9, 2022
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