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SpaceX launches the Axiom Ax-1, the first private crew to the ISS, $55 million each per seat.

Axiom private mission takes Chief NASA Astronaut and three tourist/researchers to space.

Launch of Falcon-9 Crew Dragon Endeavour

April 8, 2022; A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (Booster; B1067.5) launched the Crew Dragon Endeavor C206 spacecraft, for Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, today at 15:17 UTC (11 :17 EDT). The crew includes commander Michael López-Alegría, pilot Larry Connor and mission specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy. Endeavor C206 is scheduled to dock with the space station's PMA-3 Zenith(Space facing port) tomorrow, April 9, at around 10:45 UTC (06:45 EDT). Following the stage separation, the first stage 'core' of Falcon 9 (B1062) landed on the droneship “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9's first stage (B1062) previously flew five missions: GPS III Space Vehicle 04 (GPS III SV04), GPS III SV05, Inspiration4 and a batch of Starlink satellites.

The pre-launch press previously claimed that Connor, Stibbe and Pathy paid $55 million each for the opportunity to go to the ISS. Lopez-Alegria flies at the expense of Axiom Space, of which he is vice president and chief astronaut. It is expected that after docking the spacecraft with the ISS, scheduled for 7:45 am EDT on Saturday, the crew will remain aboard the space station for eight days.

This launch makes it 14 people are in orbit today: on Ax-1, Lopez-Alegria, Connor, Stibbe, Pathy; on the ISS: Chari, Marshburn, Maurer, Barron, Artemyev, Matveyev, Korsakov; and on the Tiangong space station, Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu.

During the 10-day mission, eight of which will be spent aboard the ISS, the crew will perform more than 25 science experiments and technology demonstrations designed for the microgravity environment

Significant milestone by Ax-1 mission:

Commander L-Alegria and Pilot Connor view of control panel

  • First flight by a fully private crew to the space station

  • First manned mission to be launched on a 2 stage liquid fuel rocket that will make its 5th flight