Elon Musk's SpaceX has launched the AX-1 mission to the International Space Station. This is the first-ever fully private astronaut crew to visit and live on the orbiting laboratory.
SpaceX is carrying out the mission with Axiom Space, a commercial aerospace company that plans to build and operate the first commercial ISS modules and the first international commercial space station.
The four-member crew that went to the ISS included:
- Michael López-Alegría, a veteran NASA astronaut and current mission commander;
- Eytan Stibbe, former Israeli Air Force pilot and businessman;
- Mark Pathy, executive director of investment company MAVRIK;
- Larry Connor, founder and managing partner of real estate investment company The Connor Group.
The first private mission was launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. They were taken to space by the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed by SpaceX.
The flight should take the crew 10 days, 8 of which they will spend on the ISS. There, the AX-1 crew will conduct innovative research experiments in the orbiting laboratory.