Ax-1 crew welcomed to International Space Station for 8-day stay

Docking was delayed due to video issue

Axiom-1 crew members reach the I.S.S.

HOUSTON – After an almost hour-long delay due to technical issues, the all-private crew of Ax-1 docked at the International Space Station Saturday morning.

Docking was originally scheduled for 7:45 a.m., with the hatch opening targeted for approximately 9:30 a.m. and a welcoming ceremony set for around 10:05 a.m., times which would all be pushed back slightly as procedures got underway.

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Sending private citizens to NASA’s International Space Station from American soil had never happened until Friday because NASA hadn’t allowed it.

Mission control announced the docking would be delayed around 7:45 a.m. due to the need to troubleshoot a video routing issue to the ISS. Flight controllers fixed the problem by 8:25 a.m., allowing Crew Dragon to continue with docking.

The capsule made contact with the ISS at 8:29 a.m. and completed the docking sequence by 8:43 a.m.

A couple hours after docking, the crew opened the hatched and made their way inside the ISS, becoming the first private astronauts to climb inside. A short time later, they then held a welcoming ceremony.

Ax-1 commander and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria marked the historical milestone by giving his three crewmates — Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe — pins to recognize them as astronauts.

“I hope they will wear these with the pride that they deserve,” Lopez-Alegria said.

SpaceX launched three rich businessmen and their astronaut escort to the International Space Station on Friday for more than a week’s stay, as NASA joins Russia in hosting guests at the world’s most expensive tourist destination.

The private astronauts recounted the journey that lead them to the station.

“It’s hard to find the words, but it’s been an amazing journey. I’m not just talking about the last 24 hours. I’m talking about everything that got us here. It’s been amazing,” Pathy said.

They also recognized the importance of their mission.

“We’re here to experience this, but we understand there’s a responsibility and the responsibility is for this first civilian crew to get it right and that’s what we’re fully committed to,” Connor said. “It’s going to be a busy week of research for us and I’m sure it’s going to fly by.”

The Ax-1 crew will spend the next eight days on board the ISS conducting experiments.

Watch a recorded livestream of the docking by clicking here.