A SpaceX rocket ship carrying the first private astronaut crew ever launched. International Space Station (ISS), an aircraft hailed by industry executives and NASA as a milestone in the commercialization of space travel.
Houston-based startup Axium is a four-member team selected Space Inc departed Friday morning from Cape Canaveral, Florida for its first spaceflight and orbit science mission.
The live video webcast by Axiom showed 25-layers SpaceX The missile – a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with its crew dragon capsule – flying in the blue sky off the Atlantic coast of Florida.
The cameras inside the crew box lit up the scene as the rocket soared into space, four people tied inside a compressed cabin and seated quietly in helmeted white and black airplanes.
Nine minutes after launch, missile commentators said the rocket’s upper level sent the crew capsule into its initial orbit. Meanwhile, the reusable lower level of the rocket detached from the other spacecraft, flew back to Earth, and safely touched the landing site of a drone floating in the Atlantic.
Publishing webcast commentator Kate Dice described the elevator as “absolutely picture-perfect”. One crew member overheard Mission Control say on a radio transmission: “It’s a hell of a ride.”
If all goes according to plan, a team of four led by retirees NASA Astronaut Michael Lopez-Allegri will arrive at the space station on Saturday after a 20-hour flight, and will arrive at the dock with the autonomously operated crew dragon ISS.
SpaceX operated flight control for the aircraft from its headquarters near Los Angeles.
In addition to providing NASA with the launch pad, the astronauts will assume their responsibility once they meet with the space station for eight days to carry out scientific and biomedical research.
Representing the partnership between Axiom, SpaceX and NASA, the trio said the mission would be a key step in expanding the business space efforts collectively referred to by locals as the low-Earth orbit economy or LEO economy.
“We’re taking business out of the face of the earth and putting it into space,” NASA President Bill Nelson said before the plane. The shift sent humans back to the moon, helping his company to focus more on Mars and other in-depth space exploration, he said.
Following the launch of four NASA space missions to the space station and the launch of “Inspiration 4” in September, SpaceX’s’ sixth human spaceflight was launched on Friday in almost two years. That plane did not stop with the ISS.
While the space station will occasionally entertain civilian visitors, the Ax-1 mission will represent the first all-business team of astronauts to use the ISS for its purpose as an orbital research laboratory.
The Axiom team will share the weightless work environment with seven regular, government-paid ISS crew members: three American astronauts, one German and three Russian astronauts.
Lopez-Alexria, 63, is a Spanish-born Axiom mission commander and vice president of the Business Development Agency. Larry Connor, a real estate and technology entrepreneur and aerobatics aviator from Ohio, was hired as a mission pilot. Connor is in his 70s; The company did not provide his exact age.
The Ax-1 Group includes both investor-philanthropist and former Israeli war pilot Eytan Stibbe, 64, and Canadian businessman and philanthropist Mark Patti, 52, as work professionals. This makes the Stipe the second Israeli in space after Ilan Ramon, who died with six NASA crews in the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster.
Axiom crew members may seem to have a lot in common in recent months with many affluent travelers on the Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic services provided by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.
But Axis went beyond its mission space travel, with each team member undergoing hundreds of hours of astronaut training on both NASA and SpaceX.
The Ax-1 team will conduct about two dozen scientific experiments, including research on brain health, heart stem cells, cancer and aging, as well as a technical demonstration to produce optics using the surface tension of liquids under microgravity, company executives said.
Launched in orbit in 1998, the space station has been under continuous occupation since 2000 under US-Russian-led cooperation, including with Canada, Japan and 11 European countries.
NASA has no plans to invest in the new space station once the ISS retires in 2030. But NASA selected Axiom in 2020 and created a new business unit for the orbiting laboratory, which is now the length of a football field.
When ready to deactivate, plans call for the separation of the axium blocks from the rest of the station. Other private operators are expected to put their own stations in orbit as soon as they leave the ISS service.
Axiom, meanwhile, says it has contracted with SpaceX to send three more private spacecraft to the space station over the next two years.