scorecardSpaceX launched 4 astronauts to the International Space Station for Axiom Space in the first ever all-private mission
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SpaceX launched 4 astronauts to the International Space Station for Axiom Space in the first ever all-private mission

Zahra Tayeb   

SpaceX launched 4 astronauts to the International Space Station for Axiom Space in the first ever all-private mission
LifeScience2 min read
  • Commercial aerospace firm Axiom Space launched the first private astronaut mission to the ISS Friday.
  • The four-man civilian crew was blasted into orbit by a SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship.

SpaceX has made history by launching the first all-private crew of astronauts to the International Space Station Friday, on behalf of commercial aerospace firm Axiom Space.

The Axiom-1 mission's crew comprised Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe, who were blasted into orbit by a SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:17 a.m. EDT, per NASA.

"What a historic launch! Thank you to the dedicated teams at NASA who have worked tirelessly to make this mission a reality," NASA chief Bill Nelson said.

He added: "Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom-1 crew for making this first private mission to the International Space Station a reality."

According to the space agency, the astronaut team will spend more than a week on the ISS carrying out scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities.

NASA will broadcast the docking of the SpaceX capsule, hatch opening, and welcome ceremony live starting at 5:45 a.m. EDT Saturday, via this link.

The four men each have varying roles during the mission. López-Alegría, a retired NASA astronaut and Axiom vice president, will serve as the commander of the flight. Connor, an activist investor, will serve as the mission pilot, while Pathy, a Canadian investor, and Stibbe, an Israeli businessman, will act as mission specialists.

Insider previously reported that a seat on the historic flight cost the crew members $55 million each.

"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," said Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space.

In the most recent update of the mission, Axiom Space tweeted early Saturday: "The #Ax1 astronauts (and Caramel the dog) just checked in as they pass over the southern tip of South America. They are preparing to dock to the @Space_Station."

Axiom Space is due to launch a second commercial mission to the International Space Station between fall 2022 and late spring 2023. Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson will serve as commander of the flight while John Shoffner will act as mission pilot.

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