SpaceX is ready to launch the first all-private human spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) managed by Axiom Space, a privately funded space infrastructure developer headquartered in Houston, Texas. Axiom aims to build and operate the world's first commercial space station by the year 2024. The company also provides management services for customers who would like to travel to space. SpaceX will launch Axiom’s AX-1 mission on Friday, April 8.
The AX-1 crew that will visit the Space Station are: Larry Connor of the United States, Eytan Stibbe of Israel, and Mark Pathy of Canada, led by former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría who will serve as commander. Connor is an entrepreneur, non-profit activist investor, who is set to make history as the first private Dragon pilot to reach the ISS and the first human to reach the deepest ocean depths and outer space within one year. Stibbe served as an Israeli Air Force pilot for more than four decades and is going to make history as the 2nd Israeli to ever visit outer space. Pathy is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who will make history as Canada’s 2nd private astronaut and the 12th Canadian to ever travel to space.
A veteran Falcon 9 rocket will launch them to space at 11:17 a.m. ET from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A backup launch opportunity is scheduled for Saturday, April 9 at 10:54 a.m. ET. The previously-flown first-stage booster that will conduct this mission is identified as B1062; It is filled with scorch marks from reentering Earth’s atmosphere four times before. The mission's the booster launched include: the U.S. Space Force GPS III Space Vehicle 04 satellite and GPS III Space Vehicle 05, as well as SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission that marked the world's first all-civilian space flight to orbit Earth, and a single Starlink mission. SpaceX rolled out the rocket to the launch pad on Tuesday.
Soon after launching the AX-1 crew aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft to orbit, the Falcon 9 booster will land a fifth time on the 'A Shortfall of Gravitas' autonomous droneship that will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The Endeavour spacecraft previously flew SpaceX's first crewed mission (Demo-2), as well as the second operational crewed flight under NASA's Commercial Crew Program (Crew-2). SpaceX will Livestream the Ax-1 mission approximately 3-hours ahead of liftoff, video below.
The AX-1 mission will not only be a space tourist flight, the crew will participate in science research and educational projects during their 8-day visit at the Space Station. Stibbe is tasked with conducting scientific experiments in microgravity for the Israel Space Agency at the Ministry of Science & Technology and the Ramon foundation, with the purpose to inspire and educate Israeli children and teachers. He will also collaborate with Fluidic Tech, on an experiment that will enable the next generation of giant telescopes, according to NASA (learn about the research in article linked below). Pathy will perform scientific research regarding health in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency, Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic. Connor will do some research projects in microgravity and intends to provide instructional lessons to students at Dayton Early College Academy in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio.
Connor said that the research they plan to conduct is what sets the AX-1 passengers aside from other space tourists. “Our feeling is, with space tourists, they’ll spend 10 or 15 hours training, 5 to 10 minutes in space,” he said during a press conference on April 1st. “In our case, depending upon our role, we’ve spent anywhere from 750 to over 1000 hours training. Additionally, across all of the astronauts here, we’re going to do some 25 different experiments, encompassing over 100 hours of research, on the eight days we’re on the ISS," he shared.
As a part of #Ax1 mission specialist Eytan Stibbe’s research portfolio, the @FluidicTech experiment aims to explore the unique behavior of fluids in the weightlessness of Earth’s orbit to enable the next generation of giant telescopes – built in space.— Axiom Space (@Axiom_Space) April 4, 2022
🔬Read more @NASAAmes: https://t.co/Hsyr1d1OSQ
WATCH IT LIVE!
Featured Image Source: SpaceX