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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)

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 26, 2021 - Science

What to know about the Moon rock in Biden's Oval Office

The Moon rock now in the Oval Office. Photo: NASA

President Joe Biden hasn't revealed much about his space policy priorities yet, but space fans can take heart that space is on his mind, thanks to an Apollo Moon rock that now decorates the Oval Office.

Why it matters: The Moon rock — loaned to the White House by NASA — is on display "in symbolic recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments, and support for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach," according to a statement from NASA.

Dave Lawler, author of World
54 mins ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.