Three businessmen and a former astronaut, who left Earth aboard a SpaceX rocket, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) early Saturday.
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They were greeted with hugs and camera flashes. The first fully private space mission, consisting of three businessmen and a former astronaut departing on a SpaceX rocket, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) early Saturday, April 9th. They stay there for a little over a week.
All smiling, thumbs often raised in their black and blue uniform, the commander of the Ax-1 mission, the American-Spanish Michael Lopez-Alegria, the Canadian Mark Pathy, the American Larry Connor and the Israeli Eytan Stibbe came out one after the other SpaceX Dragon capsule.
Michael Lopez-Alegria, a 63-year-old former NASA astronaut, is now an employee of the Axiom company, which organized the trip. The other three crew members each paid tens of millions of dollars for the experiment. Larry Connor, the head of a real estate company, took on the pilot role. Mark Pathy is the head of an investment company and ex-pilot Eytan Stibbe is a co-founder of an investment fund.
Newcomers have already visited the space station, especially in the 2000s, last year Russia sent a film crew there, then a Japanese billionaire. But these flew aboard Soyuz rockets, accompanied by cosmonauts.
The four men on this first private mission have busy schedules with about 25 experiments on aging, heart health and even stem cells.
Axiom Space has an agreement with SpaceX for a total of four missions, and NASA has already formally approved the principle of a second, Ax-2. For Axiom Space, this is a first step toward an ambitious goal: building its own space station.