SpaceX’s launch of the first fully private mission to the International Space Station has been delayed two days and will not lift off until Friday, SpaceX and mission sponsor Axiom Space announced on Sunday.
NASA’s first fully private mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has been postponed for a few days. Axiom Space is now targeting April 8 for the launch of its Ax-1 mission on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center. In total, the Crew Dragon spacecraft, Endeavor, will pass 10 days in space, including eight docked to the ISS.
This mission will consist of a retired NASA astronaut, now employed by Axiom, and three wealthy entrepreneurs. Unsurprisingly, this is theformer astronaut Michael López-Alegría who will be the commander of the Ax-1 mission. During his NASA career, he flew on the Space Shuttle three times and visited the ISS once. He performed 10 spacewalks during those missions and still holds the record for most releases to date.
NASA wants to democratize space tourism
The former NASA astronaut will be joined by Larry Connor, a 70-year-old real estate and technology entrepreneur and aerobatic aviator. The Ax-1 team is completed by the investor-philanthropist and former Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe, 64 years oldand Canadian businessman and philanthropist Mark Pathy, 52 years old. Stibbe is becoming the second Israeli in spaceafter Ilan Ramon, who sadly perished along with six NASA crew members in the 2003 shuttle Columbia disaster.
With the help of SpaceX, which launched its first private flight last year, NASA intends to democratize space tourism, although it is currently only reserved for the wealthiest customers. . In effect, each passenger of the AX-1 mission would have spent nearly 55 million dollars for a ticket to the ISS. Other companies have already sent tourists into space, including Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin, which offers a fairly short space experience of 10 minutes at 28 million dollars.
Budding astronauts will be able to experience weightlessness for ten days and will be exposed to the dangers to which all astronauts are exposed, including radiation, muscle breakdown, and possibly some bone loss. However, given the short duration of the mission, these risks are much lower.
Source: Axiom Space