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SpaceX Launches First All-Private Astronaut Mission to the ISS

On April 8th, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center with a Dragon Endeavor spacecraft on top. Aboard the spacecraft is the first all-private crew of space tourists eagerly waiting to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) and write history.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center 6 photos
Ax-1 crewISS modulesISS mdulesISS from spaceISS from space
The mission, officially named Axiom-1 (Ax-1), was launched on Friday morning from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. Currently, four private astronauts are on their way to the orbiting lab. The mission is commanded by former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría. He is flying together with pilot Larry Connor and mission specialists Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe.

On April 9th, at around 7:45 a.m., SpaceX Dragon Endeavor will dock autonomously to the Harmony module's space-facing port. Shortly after, the Axiom crew will meet the Expedition 67 crew members, including NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, European Space Agency (ESA ) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Sergey Korsakov, and Denis Matveev.

Axiom Space astronauts are expected to spend 10 days in total on the space station, where they will conduct "more than 25 scientific research and technology demonstrations" and get a taste of life in zero-G. Even if most of the crew members don't have any space experience, they have been training since August last year, and they're properly prepared for the mission.

"We will usher in a new era in private human spaceflight when they cross the threshold to enter the International Space Station. This journey is the culmination of long hours of training, planning, and dedication from the crew and the entire Axiom Space team, our partners at SpaceX, and of course, a credit to NASA's vision to develop a sustainable presence in low-Earth orbit," said Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space.

The crew of four will return to Earth with a splashdown and will land in one of the seven water landing zones located off the coast of Florida.



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