1st all-private crew speaks from International Space Station

The crew fulfilling the Ax-1 mission continues working on science experiments in space

The first all-private crew of the Ax-1 mission spoke from the International Space Station Wednesday afternoon.

The three rich businessmen, accompanied by a former NASA astronaut, spoke with Houston-area students at Space Center Houston.

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Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, managing partner of the Connor Group Larry Connor; CEO of Montreal’s Mavrik Corp. Mark Pathy; and former Israeli fighter pilot and founding partner of Vital Capital Eytan Stibbe are a part of the first all-private space mission, led by Axiom Space and SpaceX.

Lopez-Alegria told the students on Wednesday the crew is doing great.

‘’It’s an amazing experience for us all,’’ the Ax-1 commander said.

When asked how long it takes to prepare for a stint in space, Connor told the students the crew trained together for eight months.

‘’And that’s really the difference between private astronauts and people who are just space tourists,’’ the Ax-1 pilot said.

Axiom Space said its private astronauts, currently on day five of their 8-day journey on the orbiting laboratory, are continuing to work dozens of hours on 25 distinct science experiments.

Stibbe told students the research will help prepare Axiom for longer flights to space in the future and Pathy commented that due to the short length of the mission, the astronauts do not have free time away from their work.

Axiom said work on the experiments will continue after the Ax-1 crew leaves the space station.

The company’s director of in-flight manufacturing and research said teams will be ready to welcome them home.

‘’As the mission closes out, it’s going to be about collecting all the material (they) need to come home,’’ Christian Maender said.

Crew Dragon is expected to return the crew to Earth next week.

The crew initially launched from Kennedy Space Center on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket last Friday morning and docked at the space station for their 8-day stay Saturday morning after technical issues caused an almost hour-long delay.

Stick with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates when Axiom and SpaceX will select a time for undocking and splashdown.

About the Authors:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.