The rocket blasted off Friday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, kicking off a first-of-its-kind mission that takes the group on a 10-day mission to the ISS.
The spacecraft, which separated from the rocket after reaching orbit, flew freely for 20 hours through orbit and spent all of Friday slowly maneuvering closer to the ISS, managing to dock on Saturday morning after resolving a problem. video problem.
The trip was managed by the Houston, Texas-based startup Axiom Space, which is looking to book rocket trips, provide all the necessary training and coordinate flights to the ISS for anyone who can afford it. It’s all in line with the US government and private sector goal of boosting commercial activity on the ISS and beyond.
Aboard this mission, called AX-1, are Michael Lopez-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut turned Axiom employee who commands the mission; Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe; Canadian investor Mark Pathy; and Ohio-based real estate mogul Larry Connor.
When they arrived at the ISS on the SpaceX Crew Dragon ship, they joined seven professional astronauts already aboard the space station, including three NASA astronauts, a German astronaut and three Russian cosmonauts.
This is not the first time that non-astronauts have visited the ISS, as in previous years Russia has sold seats on its Soyuz spacecraft. However, this is the first mission to include an all-civilian crew traveling to the ISS on a US-made spacecraft.