First Private Mission To ISS Takes Off. Tickets Cost $55 Million

Watch: The first private mission to the ISS begins.  Ticket price $ 55 million

Private Mission to the ISS: The fares are widely reported to be $55 million.


The first completely private mission to the International Space Station broke out from Florida on Friday with a four-member crew from startup Axiom Space.

The partnership has been hailed by NASA, which sees it as an important step in its goal of commercializing the region of space known as “Low Earth Orbit”, prompting the agency to focus on more ambitious efforts. deeper into the universe.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon’s Endeavor capsule launched at 11:17 a.m. (1517 GMT) from Kennedy Space Center.

“We’re taking the commercial business off the surface of the Earth and sending it into space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Commanding the Axiom-1 mission is former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, a dual American and Spanish citizen who has flown into space four times during his 20-year career and last visited. ISS in 2007.

He was joined by three of his crewmates: American real estate investor Larry Connor, Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy, and former Israeli fighter pilot, investor, and philanthropist. Goodwill Eytan Stibbe.

The widely reported ticket price – which includes eight days on the outpost – is $55 million.

Research projects

But unlike the recent high-profile suborbital flights conducted by Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, Axiom says its mission should not be seen as tourism.

Aboard the ISS, which orbits 250 miles (400 km) above sea level, the quartet will undertake research projects, including demonstrating MIT technology of smart tiles that form a swarm of robots and autonomously. assembled into spatial architecture.

Another experiment involved using cancer stem cells to grow small tumours, then taking advantage of the accelerated aging environment of microgravity to identify early changes in those tumours, to improve the early detection of cancers on Earth.

Derek Hassmann, Axiom Space’s chief operations officer, told reporters at a pre-launch meeting: “The difference is that our boys don’t go up there and hover for eight days taking pictures and looking out. from the sky.

“I mean, we have a very in-depth and research-oriented timeline plan for them.”

Additionally, crew member Stibbe plans to pay tribute to his friend Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, who died in the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated. disintegrate while commuting.

Leftover pages from Ramon’s space diary, as well as mementos from his children, will be brought to the station by Stibbe.

The Axiom crew will live and work alongside the station’s regular crew: there are currently three Americans and one German on the US side, and three Russians on the Russian side.

The company has partnered for a total of four missions with SpaceX, and NASA has in principle approved the second mission, Ax-2.

Houston-based Axiom, founded in 2016, sees the trips as the first step of a larger goal: building its own private space station. President and CEO Michael Suffredini said the first module will launch in September 2024.

The plan is for it to be docked to the ISS initially, before going on autopilot when it retires and is deodorized sometime after 2030.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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