Private Astronauts Crash After Space Station Tour

Topline

The first entirely private astronaut crew to visit the International Space Station (ISS) crashed around 1:07 p.m. ET on Monday, concluding a 17-day excursion marking NASA’s first collaboration with private companies on a sightseeing mission space, an important step in commercialization. of space travel.

Highlights

The crew of four crashed without incident into the Atlantic near Jacksonville, Florida aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

The mission, organized by Houston-based Axiom Space, departed the ISS around 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, carrying four crew members and more than 200 pounds of science equipment and other supplies.

The mission, designated AX-1, was commanded by former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegría, 63, and included passengers Larry Connor, 63, CEO of Real Estate in Ohio, Mark Pathy, 52 years, CEO of the Canadian-based investment company Mavrik Corp, and Eytan Stibbe, 64, an Israeli businessman.

The AX-1 crew’s approximately 16-hour return trip to Earth was delayed due to poor weather conditions, Reuters reported.

NASA is working to arrange a second Axiom-led private visit to the ISS, and to have commercial accommodations attached to the station, the agency said.

Key Context

The AX-1 mission lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 8, tasked with conducting stem cell science research and outreach and demonstrating “self-assembling spacecraft” technology. Although the crew was originally scheduled to spend eight days on the ISS, their visit was extended due to bad weather on Earth. NASA said the AX-1 mission marks a major step in the agency’s initiative to expand commercial activity in low Earth orbit, allowing more people to visit space. However, space tourism will only be accessible to the short-term wealthy, New York Times reported. Axiom plans to establish its own space station, which will first exist as an attachment to the ISS before detaching and orbiting independently.

Large number

$55 million. This is the price of a seat on the AX-1 mission, the New York Times reported.

To monitor

SpaceX has been contracted to transport three additional Axiom missions to the ISS over the next two years, Reuters reported.

Further reading

“First private mission to space station lifts off from Florida” (Forbes)

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