CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A pioneering astronaut mission is on its way to the International Space Station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft was launched by Ax-1, a missionary from Houston of Axiom Space, today (April 8) at 11:17 am EDT (1517 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast.
None of the four Ax-1 pilots were government aircraft. It was the first full -scale mission to start the orbiting lab.
“Join us, start a new chapter,” Jon Rackham of Axiom Space said during an online announcement of today’s release. “Good, Ax-1!”
With excellent photo uploads, the team embarked on a 10 -day voyage that included eight days aboard the International Space Station. Ax-1’s SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to close with the orbiting lab at around 7:45 am EDT (1145 GMT) tomorrow (April 9).
Ax-1 marked the fifth flight for this first set of Falcon 9. And the striker made his fifth level, coming down to a precise 9.5 minutes after leaving on the bench. SpaceX A Shortfall of Gravitas spacecraft, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Live updates: Ax-1 personal touch to the airfield
“It’s been a year and a half of the hardest work since we’ve been planning the mission, since from the very beginning, doing something that hasn’t been done before like this,” Derek Hassmann said. director for Axiom Space. during a news conference before the announcement yesterday (April 7). “Sounds good.”
The Ax-1 was commissioned by retired Michael López-Alegría at NASA, who was vice president of business development for Axiom. He released today on behalf of missionary director Larry Connor and missionary lawyers Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy.
Connor was a stockbroker and pilot familiar with 16 different aircraft; Pathy is the CEO and chair of the Canadian continuing education agency MARVIK; and Stibbe is the founder of the Vital Capital Impact investment fund.
Stibbe is a fighter with the Israel Air Force (IAF) and is the second Israeli to reach the air. The first was Ilan Ramon, an astronaut who died during the Columbia disaster in 2003. In Ramon’s memory, Stibbe and the Ramon family also founded the Ramon Foundation.
Commander López-Alegría did not pay for his place on the mission and helped guide the other members on the expedition. It is estimated that each of the three co -workers spent about $ 55 million on his residence.
However, López-Alegría and other members of the missionary group insisted that the three paid customers were not “plane tourists.”
The Ax-1 is “often referred to as the spacecraft,” López-Alegría told Space.com in an interview last year. “I’ll say he’s not a tourist.”
“This is a real job that requires a lot of preparation, and I don’t think it’s relaxing,” he said.
Other members of the missionary group expressed this opinion.
“The pilots were well trained; they spent hundreds of hours preparing for this flight,” said former NASA historian Peggy Whitson, director of the human spaceflight. Axiom Space. .
Select: Ax-1: Join fleets
Many activities were planned for the missionary, including conducting 25 different scientific experiments. Among these experiments is a “brain headhead” from Israeli startup Brain.Space and Stibbe to take with it. This experiment, which aims to look at the nature of the brain in space, is one of many studies that Stibbe is bringing to the Ramon Foundation.
The Ax-1 team’s experiments will also study other topics, including aging, stem cells, heart health and more, Hassmann said yesterday.
“This really represents the first step, where a group of people who want to do something important in a low Earth orbit that members of the government can’t take right now can,” he said. Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space, spoke at the April 1 news conference.
The Ax-1 wasn’t the only starting point for Axiom’s crew, or the first full-fledged mission to the base. For Axiom Space, it was the first major step in implementing its low Earth orbit (LEO) commercial center, which is set to be the first of its kind.
“The company was set up to build a new business market,” Hassmann said briefly yesterday. He joined Ax-1, the first missionary, in building the base.
Axiom plans to “start that first module of that commercial store by the end of 2024. It will be attached to the ISS and will gradually build that center between that time and 2024 to 2030 with the goal of separates and provides commercial LEO.which was selected when the ISS was on hiatus, ”Hassman said.
“So this precursor mission is the first of the things that will lead to that start of the 2024 module,” he said.
Ax-1 may be the first full-fledged spacecraft to the ISS, but it was not the first civilian expedition into orbit. That difference goes to Inspiration4, a three -day, four -person mission founded by SpaceX in September 2021.