Passengers on the trip, which includes former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Allegria, who will lead the mission as an Axiom employee, and three paying customers, are due to depart from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday at 11:17 a.m. Eastern time. . They will ride in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, the same capsule that SpaceX has already used to transport NASA astronauts to the ISS. The capsule rises into orbit on top of one of the 230-foot-tall SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.
The capsule will then separate from the rocket and will fly freely in space all Thursday as the spacecraft slowly maneuvers closer to the ISS. It is scheduled to dock with the space station around 3 a.m. ET on Friday.
This mission, called AX-1, will be the first time in history that private citizens or non-professional astronauts will launch on the ISS from American soil. And this is the first time that Axiom, which organized and mediated this mission with SpaceX, hopes that there will be many similar flights for anyone who can afford it.
The AX-1 mission is also only the second space tourism flight for SpaceX since the launch of four individuals in September 2021 in a three-day free flight in orbit that flew even higher than the ISS.
During their eight-day stay on the space station, the AX-1 crew will conduct some scientific experiments, break bread with professional astronauts who are already aboard a space station the size of a football field, and enjoy the vast views of our home planet. below.
Who is on this mission?
Axiom acts as an intermediary between payment customers who want to make a multimillion-dollar space trip, book flights to SpaceX, negotiate with NASA and train potential space travelers. Axiom hopes to make these flights regular, since a few years ago NASA agreed to open the ISS to space tourism and other commercial enterprises.
There are three payment customers on this flight. They are all wealthy white people who continue the trend that is affecting the commercial space flight sector and its inaccessibility to more diverse segments of the population. The vast majority of people who could still afford to pay for space travel – whether on SpaceX flights or in suborbital missions like those offered by Blue Origin – were white businessmen. This shows how far reality is from the promised dream of outer space, which comes from entrepreneurs who claim that space is “for everyone”, and the commercialization of space “democratizes it” against the background of increasing income inequality. At such a high price, space in the foreseeable future will remain commercially available to only a few elite individuals. While the goal is to eventually drastically reduce the cost of space travel, hopefully make ticket prices affordable for more people until it’s clear how and when this will happen.
Real estate mogul Larry Connor
72-year-old Larry Connor is a real estate mogul from Dayton, Ohio. He founded The Connor Group, which has developments in 16 markets across the country and has assets of more than $ 3.5 billion, according to the company’s website. He is an avid adventurer, riding cars and climbing mountains.
“My journey really started seven or eight years ago. I’ve always been interested in space, and I started thinking about it after reading about an American who went to Russia and went to the Union. [spacecraft]”he said in an interview with the Dayton Society for Natural History last year after his plans to fly the AX-1 were revealed.
Connor said he decided to book a mission to “challenge”.
Former CEO of Shipping Mark Patty
Mark Patty, 52, is the founder and CEO of Canadian investment firm and family office Mavrik Corp. The website claims that Maurice is “particularly focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and responsible investing”, although not many of his investment decisions are public. .
He added that it has been a dream come true since I was a young child and watched Captain Kirk jump across the universe on the Enterprise to fly into space.
Eitan Stebbe, 64, is an Israeli businessman.
According to his biography Axiom, Stibbe, a former fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, founded Vital Capital ten years ago. Its website claims that the company is investing in companies involved in sectors such as food and healthcare in developing areas, particularly across Africa, for “high-yielding opportunities”.
Axiom says Stibb’s journey is “in collaboration” with the Ramon Foundation, a nonprofit space education organization named after Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who died in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle crash. and Ramon united a “close” friendship. Stibbe will be only the second Israeli to go into space.
In particular, reports allege that Stibbe was involved in the sale of military aircraft in Angola, which was embroiled in a brutal civil war from the 1970s to 2002.
In a 2012 television interview conducted in Hebrew and translated by Israeli News and CNN Business, Steeb also confirmed his involvement.
“We helped Angola end the war by bringing in interceptor planes and two Su-27 fighters from Uzbekistan,” he said. “Their presence in the country stopped flights carrying weapons, food and ammunition, as well as the export of illegal diamonds from Angola. A year and a half later, the war ended.”
A statement issued by CNN Business on behalf of Stibbe said that “LR Group’s business in Angola was almost exclusively concerned with agricultural infrastructure, training, water, airports and telecommunications.”
It adds that LR Group “received a request from [US-backed Angolan] the government to help upgrade the airspace infrastructure to ICAO international standards, ”and that the sales of the aircraft were carried out“ with export licenses and were perfectly legal ”.
“In addition, aircraft and control radars were used only for deterrence,” the statement said.
The LR Group responded in a statement from CNN Business, which states: “The LR Group is involved in healthcare, telecommunications, food, agriculture, renewable energy and water to promote the independence and economic and social well-being of local people around the world.”
“At the time, when Stibbe was a partner in the company, he acted as a partner responsible for the operation and financing of the company’s business in Angola,” the statement said. “After he separated from the company, he bought an activity in Angola in 2012 and continued to work there.”
LR Group is currently involved in a legal dispute related to the allegations against Stibb at a time when he was a partner in the company.
Representatives of Stibbe declined to comment on the lawsuit.
As for his decision to go into space, Steeb said, “As a child on dark nights, I stared at the stars and waited patiently to see a shooting star, and I asked myself: what’s behind what the eyes see?” he said in a comment translated by i24NEWS.
Steb will soon find out that its launch is scheduled for this week.