What you need to know:
Axiom Space announced that they will facilitate the first-ever private crew to take a leisure flight to the International Space Station
The crew will be led by retired NASA astronaut Commander Michael López-Alegría, who will be joined by a crew of three
The crew are each footing a US$55 million (roughly AU$72 million) ticket to make the trip
Has the recent international travel-drought sent your armchair travel dreams into a spin? Thinking about the places you could travel to where the C word just isn’t a thing? Somewhere really, really remote, like space perhaps?
Well if you’ve ever wondered about space travel, thought about how much it would cost, what you’d need or how you could do it, then read on. This week some lucky punters' wildest travel pipe dreams were unveiled, with a private crew confirmed to fly to an International Space Station early next year.
Houston-based start-up, Axiom Space, announced that they will facilitate the first-ever private crew to fly to the International Space Station (ISS), a mission they are calling Ax-1. The crew will be led by Retired NASA astronaut and Axiom Vice President, Commander Michael López-Alegría, who has flown to space four times over his 20 year career. Joining him will be mission pilot Larry Connor and mission specialists Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe, each of whom are footing US$55 million (roughly AU$72 million) to make the journey.
“We sought to put together a crew for this historic mission that had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the people on Earth, and I’m glad to say we’ve done that with this group,” Michael Suffredini, president and chief executive of Axiom Space, said in a statement.
The crew will depart from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket, travelling to the ISS which is expected to take two days. Once there, the crew plan to carry out research and philanthropic projects over eight days, which will see Commander Michael López-Alegría the first person to ever command a civil and commercial human mission into space, and the first private pilot on an orbital spaceflight.
“Never has an entire crew been non-professional astronauts,” López-Alegría said in a statement. “This is really groundbreaking, and I think it’s very important that the mission be successful and safe because we’re really paving the way for lots of things to happen after us.”
You’re probably thinking “$US55 million seems steep, surely not?” But yes, you read that correctly. A small price to pay for a little philanthropy don’t you think?
Axiom wants to fly “a couple of these missions per year,” López-Alegría added, so good news if you happen to have a few million lying around, because future missions are on deck. Really puts your last trip into the affordable column now doesn’t it? Us too, so back to booking our next one…
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