The first special mission to the International Space Station

Three businessmen and a former astronaut took off aboard a SpaceX rocket Friday on the first all-private mission to the International Space Station, where they will stay for just over a week.

Liftoff took place at 11:17 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center under blue skies over Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Beginners have already visited the International Space Station (ISS), especially in the 2000s Russia sent a camera crew there Director, then a Japanese billionaire. But she was flying on missiles Soyuzaccompanied by astronauts.

This time around, it was Axiom Space that organized the flight, buying transportation from SpaceX and paying NASA for use of its station. “We are expanding the land frontiers of commerce into space,” said Bill Nelson, head of the US Space Agency, who attended the liftoff. “To say we are happy is an understatement,” Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space, said at a press conference, noting that it was the culmination of six years of working with NASA and SpaceX. Mission Commander, his name is ax 1, is Michael Lopez Allegria, Spanish-American, a former NASA astronaut now working for Axiom. He’s been to the International Space Station before. The other three crew members paid tens of millions of dollars each for the experience. He took on the role of American pilot Larry Connor, at the head of a real estate company.

Also on board: Canadian Mark Pathy, owner of an investment firm, and former pilot Eitan Stipe, co-founder of an investment fund. The president of Axiom Space said that no woman had come forward with this first assignment.

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The four men have a full programme, with 25 trials, on aging, heart health, and even stem cells.

“The experiments that I am running there, which come from Canadian universities and research institutions, might not have had the opportunity to test in space” had it not been for this mission, said Mark Pathy. For this reason, among others, membersax 1 She refuses to be called a space tourist. “I think it’s important to differentiate between a space tourist and private astronauts,” said Larry Connor. The former “spends 10 to 15 hours in training, 5 to 10 minutes in space. […] We spent between 750 and 1,000 hours training. He and Michael Lopez Allegria trained in the SpaceX capsule system, Dragon.

capsule Dragon It is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station on Saturday around 7:45 a.m. This is only the sixth time that SpaceX has transported humans (the fifth to the International Space Station). The first flight took place less than two years ago.

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