A team of four, led by a former NASA astronaut and three paying customers, is set to embark on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft atop the firm’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The mission named, Ax-1, is the first crewed flight for Texas-based space firm Axiom Space.
During a pre-launch news conference, Angela Hart, NASA’s commercial LEO (low Earth orbit) program manager, said it was a historical event, and NASA was extremely delighted to report their readiness and willingness to move forward with tomorrow’s launch.
The Ax-1is a new type of human spaceflight mission and one that comes with an expensive price tag for its participants. The three paying flyers have each paid a reported $55 million for their seats on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. The trio of novice astronauts includes American real estate investor Larry Conor, Canadian investor Mark Pathy, and former Israeli Air Force pilot Eytan Stibbe. Veteran NASA astronaut, Michael Lopez-Alegria, is the commander of the trip. He has flown four missions to space and is the vice president of Axiom.
The launch is scheduled at 7:50 AM Eastern Time (ET) on April 8, 2022.