Match Axiom-1 (Ax-1), the first special mission to the International Space Station. The four-man Crew Dragon ‘Endeavour’ shuttle is launched with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. The launch took place from ramp 39A, not far from the ramp on which the Artemis mission spacecraft is waiting to resume testing on Earth: not since 2009 have two launchers been close together at the US space base.
The crew of the Ax-1 mission includes NASA Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, former NASA astronaut and pilot Larry Connor, and mission specialist Eitan Stipe and Mark Bathy. The four men from the special crew will work for 11 days on the space station thanks to the agreement signed by NASA and Axiom Axiom Corporation in Houston. While Commander Lopez Allegria was an Axiom employee, the company’s three other crew members paid their seats on the plane.
The Axiom 1 mission will mark the sixth test launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, the second full commercial flight into orbit after last September’s Inspiration4 mission, and the first full commercial visit to the space station. In fact, the eleven “space tourists” who visited the International Space Station in the past two decades, as part of commercial agreements with the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), were accompanied by professional cosmonauts. Mike Suffredini, CEO of Axiom, commented, “This will likely be the first of hundreds of missions to come in the coming decades, as we will be busy building our own commercial space station and providing services in low Earth orbit.”
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