CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The first private civilian crew made history on Friday, hitching a ride to the International Space Station on SpaceX's Axiom-1 mission.
This is space company Axiom’s first mission to the ISS. Onboard is a former NASA astronaut who will serve as commander and three civilians who paid to join.
After a brief delay to an alignment issue, the astronauts successfully docked around 8:30 a.m. After safety checks were completed the crew were welcomed by the Space Station crews to their new home for the next week.
The 11-person crew aboard the station comprises of (bottom row from left) Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Denis Matveev, Kayla Barron, Oleg Artemyev, and station Commander Tom Marshburn; (center row from left) Axiom Mission 1 astronauts Mark Pathy, Ey
People camping out at Jetty Park have come from all over the country, some coming all the way from Canada to see Friday's space launch.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying the Axiom Space Ax-1 mission is in the foreground on Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center as NASA's Artemis I rocket sits on nearby Pad 39B for tests.
"It’s one of those things, you could see it a million times, and it just gets better," said David Lane, visiting from New Hampshire.
The AX-1 crew are flying on SpaceX's Dragon Endeavour capsule to and from the space station and splash down off the coast of Florida following 10 days in orbit. The Ax-1 mission lifted of from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 11:17 a.m. ET.
Before take-off, the crew got words of encouragement from mission control.
"Godspeed, fellas. Let's go have some fun."
MEET THE AX-1 CREW
From left to right: Larry Connor, Ax-1 pilot; Mark Pathy, Ax-1 mission specialist; Michael Lopez-Alegria, Ax-1 commander; Eytan Stibbe, impact investor and philanthropist.
Michael Lopez-Alegria, Mission Commander:
Michael López-Alegría is the Chief Astronaut for Axiom Space and Commander of the Ax-1 mission. López-Alegría is a four-time astronaut, having flown on Space Shuttle missions STS-73, STS-92, and STS-113, and served as Commander of ISS Expedition 14, flying to and from the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-9. He holds NASA records for the most Extravehicular Activities (EVA) or "space walks" (10) and cumulative EVA time (67 hours 40 minutes). In 2021, he was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. López-Alegría was born in Madrid, Spain, and immigrated to the United States with his family.
Larry Connor, Pilot:
Larry Connor is an entrepreneur, non-profit activist investor, and the Ax-1 Pilot. Through the Ax-1 mission, Connor will become the first private pilot to reach the ISS and the first human to reach the deepest ocean depths and outer space within one year. Connor is the founder and managing partner of The Connor Group, a real estate investment firm he grew from $0 to $3.5 billion in assets. He’s also founded two technology companies. His non-profit endeavors include The Connor Group Kids & Community Partners, which invests in programs that pull children out of generational poverty, and The Greater Dayton School –Ohio’s first private non-religious school exclusively for under-resourced students.
Mark Pathy, Mission Specialist
Mark Pathy is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist as well as a Mission Specialist on Axiom Space’s AX-1 mission. Pathy is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Montreal-based MAVRIK, a privately-owned investment and financing company he founded that focuses on innovation and social impact. As a strong believer in the importance of philanthropy, Pathy is a member of the boards and Executive Committees of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Dans La Rue, and the Pathy Family Foundation.
Eytan Stibbe, Mission Specialist
Eytan Stibbe is an impact investor, philanthropist, and mission specialist on the AX-1 mission to the International Space Station. In collaboration with the Ramon Foundation, the Israel Space Agency, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Education, Stibbe will fly to the ISS under the "Rakia" banner and the maxim "There is no dream beyond reach’’ that magnificently captures the spirit of the mission: "Rakia" is a biblical term that designates the creation of the sky. During his time on the ISS Stibbe will facilitate scientific experiments, educational research, and artistic activities. "Rakia" –a mission that wholly embraces peace, innovation, and social responsibility –will allow Stibbe a unique opportunity to foster his life-long interest in exploration and development.