Melbourne, Fla.—3 visitors were sent to space station Axiom Space of Houston acted as the tour operator, selling seats for the 10-day trip, including eight days aboard the station, for $55 million each marking Space X’s first private charter flight to the orbiting lab. This mission is in line with the US government's and the private sector's goal to boost commercial activity on the ISS and beyond.
Although Axiom Space is based in Houston, Texas, this mission launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, April 4, 2022. The spacecraft, which separated from the rocket after reaching orbit, spent about 20 hours free flying through orbit as it maneuvered closer to the ISS. Their mission, called Ax-1, is the first in a series of four missions that Axiom plans to conduct in partnership with SpaceX.
According to the New York times, the mission is the first to go to the space station on which all of the passengers are private citizens, and it is the first time that NASA has collaborated in arranging a space tourism visit. The flight marked a pivotal moment in efforts to spur space travel by commercial enterprises, NASA officials said.
The report from the NY Times describes the International Space Station as a technological marvel, about as long as a football field, but one that costs NASA about $1.3 billion a year to operate. Although NASA wants to extend the lifetime of the current station to 2030, it hopes that much less expensive commercial space stations are in orbit by then.
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