The passengers on this trip – which includes former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegría, who will manage the project as an Axiom employee, and three paying customers – are scheduled to take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday at 12:05 ET . . They will ride in SpaceX Crew Dragon capsules, the same capsule that SpaceX has used to transport NASA astronauts to the ISS already. The capsule orbits on top of one of SpaceX’s 230-foot Falcon 9 rockets.
The capsule will then separate from the rocket and fly freely through space throughout Thursday as the spacecraft moves slowly closer to the ISS. It is planned to dock at the space station at three o’clock on Friday morning.
This expedition, called the AX-1, will mark the first time in history that civilians, or otherwise unprofessional astronauts, will fire on the ISS from US soil. And this is the first thing that Axiom, the company that organized and mediated this project with SpaceX, hopes will be many similar flights for everyone who can afford it.
The AX-1 mission is also only the second spaceflight flight for SpaceX, following the launch of four civilians in September 2021 in three days, a free-flying orbit that went even higher than the ISS.
During their eight-day stay at the space station, the crew of AX-1 will do some scientific experiments, break bread with the commercial astronauts already on board the space station, the size of a football field, and enjoy a vast view of our passing planet. below.
Who is in this project?
Axiom serves as an intermediary between paying customers who want to go on a multimillion-dollar thrill ride into space, book flights with SpaceX, negotiate with NASA, and receive training for prospective astronauts. Axiom hopes to make these flights a regular occurrence, as NASA agreed a few years ago to open the ISS to space travel and other commercial companies.
There are three paying customers on this flight. They are all rich white men who continue the development that plagues space travel for commercial purposes and its inaccessibility to more diverse groups of the population. The vast majority of people who have so far been able to afford to pay for space – whether it’s in SpaceX flights or underground flights like Blue Origin’s – have been white businessmen. It is a testament to how far reality is from the promised distant space dream that comes from pioneers who claim that space is “for everyone” and that marketing space will “democratize it” amid growing income inequality. Because the price level is so great, the space will remain accessible in the business of only a few elite groups for the foreseeable future. While the goal is to significantly reduce the cost of getting into the space, hopefully making ticket prices affordable for more people, it is not clear how or when that will happen.
Real estate thief Larry Connor
Larry Connor, 72, is a real estate thief from Dayton, Ohio. He founded The Connor Group, which develops in 16 markets across the country and owns more than $ 3.5 billion in assets, according to the company’s website. He is an avid adventurer, has competed in cars and climbed 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 Soyuz. [spacecraft]He said in an interview with the Dayton Society of Natural History last year, after his plans to fly the AX-1 were revealed.
Connor said he had decided to book the project for the “challenge”.
Former CEO of the company, Mark Pathy
Mark Pathy, 52, is the founder and CEO of the Canadian investment firm Mavrik Corp. Its website states that Mavrik has a “special emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship and responsible investment,” although not many investment decisions are public. .
He added that it “has been a dream since I was a little kid and watched Captain Kirk bounce around the universe in Enterprise” to go into space.
Eytan Stibbe, 64, is an Israeli businessman.
According to his biography Axiom, Stibbe, a former fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, founded Vital Capital a decade ago. Its website states that the company is investing in companies involved in sectors such as food and healthcare in developing areas, especially across Africa, for “high return potential”.
Axiom says Stibbe’s journey is taking place “in collaboration” with the Ramon Foundation, a non-profit organization on space education named after Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. Stibbes’ biography also states that he and Ramon shared a “close” friendship. Stibbe will be the only other Israeli to go into space.
In particular, reports suggest that Stibbe was involved in the sale of military aircraft in Angola, which was involved in a brutal civil war from 1970 to 2002.
In a 2012 television interview, broadcast in Hebrew and translated by Israeli media and CNN Business, Stibbe also appeared to confirm his involvement.
“We helped Angola end the war by bringing them interceptors, two Su-27 fighter jets, from Uzbekistan,” he said. “Their presence in the country halted the flight that provided weapons, food and ammunition and the export of illegal diamonds from Angola. After a year or a year and a half, the war ended.”
A statement from CNN Business on behalf of Stibbe said: “LR Group’s business in Angola was almost exclusively about agricultural infrastructure, vocational training, water, airports and telecommunications.
It is added that LR Group has “received a request from [US-backed Angolan] government to help upgrade its airspace infrastructure in accordance with ICAO international standards, “and that the sale of aircraft has been carried out” through export licenses and has been perfectly legal. “
“In addition, the aircraft and flight control radars were used only for deterrence,” the statement said.
LR Group responded in a statement to CNN Business, saying “LR Group has been involved in the fields of health, telecommunications, food, agriculture, renewable energy and water, with the aim of developing the independence and economic and social well-being of municipalities. people all over the world. “
“During the time that Stibbe was a partner in the company, he worked as a partner responsible for the operation and financing of the company’s business operations in Angola,” the statement said. “After leaving the company, he bought the business in Angola in 2012 and continued to operate there.”
LR Group is currently in a legal dispute over allegations against Stibbe when he was a partner in the company.
Stibbe’s representatives declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Regarding his decision to go into space, Stibbe said, “as a kid on a dark night, I looked at the stars and waited patiently to see a star fall, and I asked myself, ‘What is beyond what the eyes see? he said in comments translated by i24NEWS.
With his presentation scheduled for this week, Stibbe will soon find out.