Jan 26, 2021 - Science

Axiom announces the crew for its first private ISS mission

The Earth as seen from space

Earth from space. Photo: NASA

An American entrepreneur, Canadian investor and Israeli investor, along with a former NASA astronaut, are set to make up the first fully private mission to the International Space Station.

Why it matters: The flight — expected to launch in January 2022 — represents part of NASA's bid to create an economy in low-Earth orbit supported by private companies.

What's happening: The mission will be the first crewed flight for Axiom Space — a company that plans to one day build a private space station in orbit.

  • Axiom officially revealed the names of all of their crewmembers Tuesday. Former astronaut Michael López-Alegría will serve as the commander, Larry Connor will be the mission's pilot, and Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe will be mission specialists.
  • The four crewmembers will spend about eight days on the space station, where they plan to participate in research projects, according to Axiom.
  • The crew is expected to fly to the space station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon. A ticket to fly with Axiom costs about $55 million.
“We sought to put together a crew for this historic mission that had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the people on Earth, and I’m glad to say we’ve done that with this group
— Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini said in a statement

The big picture: NASA one day wants to become a buyer of services in orbit, not the sole provider. Missions like this one from Axiom could be a step along the way to prove out what kind of market exists.

Go deeper: Meet the people paying $55 million each to fly to the space station (Washington Post)

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