KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Next week, four men who do not work for the government are planning to participate in a launch to the International Space Station, marking the first ISS mission with an entire crew of private astronauts.
The Axiom Space Mission 1 crew took part in a news conference Friday ahead of their historic launch, scheduled for April 6.
Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria said Ax-1 will open a new era in human spaceflight “to bring working, living and research in space to a much broader and more international audience.”
The former NASA astronaut is joined by a trio of tycoons who each paid $55 million for their seats on a SpaceX Dragon—Mark Pathy from Canada, Colonel Eytan Stibbe, a veteran of the Israeli Air Force, and Larry Connor, of Ohio, who is also a pilot.
‘’We’re going to do some 25 different experiments encompassing over 100 hours of research,’’ Connor said.
The mission will involve eight days on the station, where they will join the astronauts there now.
‘’Full slates of activities—health sciences, education and technologies, the environment,’’ Pathy, an AX-1 mission specialist, said.
Following the first flight, Axiom plans to offer crewed flights to the space station as often as twice per year.
And later, Axion has plans to build its own space station.
‘’Do more and more in space, and of course, the growth of the economy in low-Earth orbit it very important to us,’’ CEO Michael Suffredini said.
The launch at pad 39A is currently planned for Wednesday, April 6, but it all depends on the results of the testing planned this weekend on a NASA rocket, the Space Launch System, on pad 39B.
Stick with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates on possible schedule changes.