Axiom targeting end of week for 1st all-private astronaut mission

Private crew will spend 8 days on International Space Station

Ax-1 crew members (left to right) Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, Michael López-Alegría and Eytan Stibbe, pictured in Houston. (Axiom Space)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Axiom Space, which is planning the first all-private crew mission to the International Space Station, is now targeting the end of this week for the launch of its first flight.

Originally, former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and three tycoons were expected to lift off on a SpaceX rocket Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center.

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But Axiom said the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft the crew will use for Axiom Mission 1, or Ax-1, arrived late last week. The capsule has since been mated to the Falcon 9 rocket, and the rocket is expected to roll out to the launch pad Tuesday.

The launch is now set for Friday at 11:17 a.m. from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 29A, with docking at the ISS scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

Aside from Lopez-Alegria, the other crew members -- Mark Pathy from Canada, Colonel Eytan Stibbe, a veteran of the Israeli Air Force, and Larry Connor, of Ohio -- paid $55 million for each for their seats.

They will spend eight days on the International Space Station, working on 25 different experiments ranging from health sciences to the environment.

After this, Axiom plans to offer crewed flights to the space station twice per year and hopes to build its own space station eventually.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.