Cape Canaveral, Florida – The first private space station crew was introduced on Tuesday: an American and a Canadian joined Israeli businessman Eaton Stibbe, each of whom paid $ 55 million to fly on a SpaceX rocket.
He will now be led by a former NASA astronaut working for the Houston company Axiom Space, which arranged the trip next January.
“This is the first private flight to the International Space Station. This has never been done before, ”said Mike Sufredini, chief executive and president of Asiom, a former space station program manager for NASA.
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While mission commander Michael Lopez-Alegria is well known in the space circles, “the other three are just people who want to be able to go into space, and we’re providing this opportunity,” Suffredini, Associated Press told.
The first crew will spend eight days at the space station, and take a day or two to board the SpaceX Dragon capsule after liftoff from Cape Canaveral.
Russia has been in the off-the-planet tourism business for years, selling rides on the International Space Station since 2001. Other space companies such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plan to pay customers. Flight of few minutes. These trips – going for seats with much more affordable hundreds of thousands vs. millions – could stop this year.
Axiom’s first customers are Larry Connor, a real estate and tech entrepreneur from Dayton, Ohio; Canadian financier Mark Paithy; And Stibbe, a close friend of Israel’s first astronaut Elan Ramon, who died in a 2003 spacecraft Columbia crash.
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“These people are very involved and doing so for the betterment of their communities and countries, and so we cannot be happy with this makeup of the first crew, because of their drive and their interest,” said Suffredini .
Each of these first paying clients intends to conduct science research in the classroom, with educational outreach.
Lopez-Alegria, a former space station resident and astronaut leader, calls the group “a collection of pioneers”.
Actor Tom Cruise was mentioned as a potential crew member last year; Top NASA officials confirmed that he was keen to see a film on the space station. There was no word on whether Cruz would catch the next Axiom flight. Suffredini declined to comment.
According to Safredini, each private astronaut had to pass medical tests and would receive 15 weeks of training. 70-year-old Connor would become the second-oldest person to fly in space, following John Glenn’s shuttle flight in 1998 at age 77. He will also work at Lopez-Alegria as a capsule pilot.
Axiom has planned two private missions a year for the space station. It is also working to launch its own live-coaches for the station starting in 2024. After being retired by NASA and international partners, the section will break away from the station, and become its own private outpost.