Want to buy a ticket to the space station? Now you can. Three men – Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe – are paying $55 million or Rs 400 crore each to travel to space to be a part of the first entirely private orbital space mission, Axiom Mission AX1. A SpaceX rocket will fly them to International Space Station for an eight-day visit. The trip has been organised by American spaceflight firm Axiom and the mission will be led by former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez Alegria who now works for Axiom.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch the mission not before January next year. The flight is being arranged under a commercial arrangement with NASA. The three men will have to pass medical tests and also undergo 15 weeks of rigorous training before they depart.
After lifting off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US, the crew will take about a day or two to arrive at the International Space Station and will then proceed to spend eight days there. The three men will participate in research and philanthropic projects alongside the astronauts from all over the world who are already stationed at the space station.
It is not the first time that private civilians have been launched into space. Russia has been selling space rides to wealthy businessmen around the world since 2001. They travelled onboard the Russian Soyuz aircraft along with professional cosmonauts and NASA astronauts. However, NASA allowed the private citizens to be launched into space from American soil only recently with the idea that the mission would help spur growth in the commercial space industry.
Several other space companies such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic also plan to offer similar services in the future.
Meet the Crew
American real estate investor and technology entrepreneur
Canadian investor and philanthropist
Israeli investor and former fighter pilot
Mission commander, Spanish veteran astronaut