The first private crew to join the ISS has just been presented

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Presented this Tuesday, January 26, the first private crew of the International Space Station (ISS) consists of three men. All of them paid $ 55 million to afford their ticket. The trip, organized by the company Axiom Space, will be on board a SpaceX capsule.

To date, only a dozen individuals have ever had the chance to live in the International Space Station (ISS) as tourists. All of them flew in Soyuz capsules. The last to have stayed there (for ten days) is the Canadian Guy Laliberté, in 2009. Nevertheless, the private sector promises to soon offer the same type of services.

A first private trip for Axiom

A few years ago the company Axiom Space, led by Mike Suffredini (a former NASA), had notably signed a contract with SpaceX to send four people to the ISS aboard a Crew Dragon capsule in 2021. We now know a little more, starting with the crew presented on Tuesday.

Axiom’s first clients will therefore be Larry Connor, an entrepreneur from Dayton (Ohio), Canadian financier Mark Pathy and Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe. Note that the latter was a close friend of the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the space shuttle Columbia crash in 2003.

The three will also be joined by Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former NASA astronaut now working for Axiom Space. All have paid their ticket approximately $ 55 million. The launch date is not yet known, but we do know the crew will stay about eight days aboard the station, before returning to land at sea off Cape Canaveral (Florida).

From left to right, Larry Connor, Michael Lopez-Alegria, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe. Credit: Axiom Space

Each of these new private astronauts has already passed several medical tests and all will benefit from fifteen weeks of training. Note that the first of them, Larry Connor, is 70 years old. He will thus become the second oldest person to fly in space after astronaut John Glenn (77 years old in 1998).

If everything goes as planned, Axiom will organize up to two private missions per year to the space station. At the same time, the company is also working on the construction of its own residential compartments which should be integrated into the ISS in 2024, before detaching itself a few years later to transform itself into a fully autonomous private space outpost.

Finally, in addition to the partnership between Axiom and SpaceX mentioned above, remember that there is also talk of Space Adventures working again with RSC Energia, the largest Russian company in the space sector. Under this contract, a client could go on a spacewalk. It would then be a first.

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