They will be headed by a former NASA astronaut, now working for the Houston-based company, Axiom Space, which arranged the trip next January.
This is the first private flight to the International Space Station. “It has never been done before,” said Mike Safredini, Axum’s chief executive and president, who is NASA’s former space station program manager.
While Mission Commander Michael Lopez Algeria is well-known in space circles, “the other three boys are the only ones who want to be able to go into space, and we are providing that opportunity,” Safridini told the Associated Press.
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The first crew will spend eight days on the space station, and one or two days after boarding the SpaceX Dragon capsule after the lift off Cape Canaveral.
Russia has been in the space tourism business for years, selling rides to the International Space Station since 2001. Other space companies, such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, plan to take paid customers up and down. Flights lasting only a few minutes. The tour – much cheaper with hundreds of thousands of seats than millions – could begin earlier this year.
Axiom’s first clients include Layton Connor, a real estate and tech entrepreneur from Dayton, Ohio, a Canadian financier, Mark Pathi, and a close friend of Israeli businessman Eaton Stubby, the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who died in the 2003 space shuttle Columbia crash. It happened.
“All of these people are working hard for the betterment of their communities and countries, and we can’t be happier with this make-up of the first staff because of their campaign and their interest,” Safrini said.
“Every one of these first paying customers has to do orbital science research,” he said.
Lopez Allegria, a former space station resident and spacewalking leader, called the group a “collection of pioneers.” Tom Cruise was mentioned as a crew member last year. NASA officials confirmed that he was interested in shooting the film on the space station. There was no word on Tuesday on whether the cruise would catch the next Axiom flight. The ambassador declined to comment.
According to Safridini, each private astronaut had to pass a medical test and receive 15 weeks of training. Connor, 77, will become the second oldest person to fly in space after John Glenn’s shuttle flight in 1998. He will also serve as a capsule pilot under Lopez Algaria.
Axiom plans two private missions a year on the space station. It is also working to launch these parts directly at the station starting in 2024. After the retirement of NASA and its international partners, the area will be separated from the station and become its own private outpost.
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