SpaceX launches 1st all-private astronaut mission to the ISS
Launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket left Earth on an all-private astronaut mission for Axiom Space.
Liftoff took place at 11:17 a.m. EDT (15:17 UTC) April 8, 2022, from Launch Complex 39A. Aboard the spacecraft four private astronauts are bound for the International Space Station for science and STEM research.
The crew is set to conduct a total of 25 science-related experiments accumulating 100 hours of work related to their specific areas of philanthropy.
“What a historic launch! Thank you to the dedicated teams at NASA who have worked tirelessly to make this mission a reality,” said Administrator Bill Nelson in an Axiom Space news release. “NASA’s partnership with industry through the commercial cargo and crew programs has led our nation to this new era in human spaceflight — one with limitless potential. Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom-1 crew for making this first private mission to the International Space Station a reality.”
The crew is composed of commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, a retired NASA astronaut and Axiom Space’s vice president of business; Larry Conner, a real estate entrepreneur; Mark Pathy, a Canadian businessman; and Eytan Stibbe, an Israeli pilot.
The 10-day mission is just the beginning for the commercial space company. Axiom plans to build and operate its own commercial segment on the orbiting outpost, which could detach to be its own Axiom Station when the ISS is at the end of its life.
The company plans to attach the first module of Axiom Station to the ISS as early as 2024 before embarking on its own free-flying platform in space commencing its own human spaceflight missions.
When the crew of Dragon Endeavour arrive at the International Space Station tomorrow, they will be the first completely-private crew to live, visit and work on the floating lab.
They’ll work alongside the current government crew aboard the outpost — the seven-person Expedition 67 astronauts and cosmonauts.
Axiom Space is partnered with SpaceX for at least four missions with Ax-1 being the first in the series.
“I first want to congratulate Michael, Larry, Eytan, and Mark. We will usher in a new era in private human spaceflight when they cross the threshold to enter the ISS,” Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space, said in a company statement. “This journey is the culmination of long hours of training, planning, and dedication from the crew and the entire Axiom Space team, our partners at SpaceX, and of course, a credit to NASA’s vision to develop a sustainable presence in low-Earth orbit.”
Video courtesy of SpaceX
Video courtesy of Orbital Velocity
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.