The historic SpaceX capsule, carrying the first all-private team of astronauts, successfully landed at the International Space Station on Saturday.
The Crew of three wealthy businessmen and a retired NASA astronaut They were welcomed aboard the orbital research platform about 21 hours after liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Friday. Docking was reported to be completed at 8:41 AM ET.
Their arrival began a week-long science mission, which has been hailed as a colossal achievement in commercial spaceflight.
Docking of the Crew Dragon capsule was delayed by about 45 minutes due to a technical glitch in a video broadcast used to monitor the capsule’s appointment with the International Space Station, but the mission proceeded smoothly.
The multinational team representing Houston-based startup Axiom Space Inc. plans to spend eight days in orbit. It is led by retired NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, 63, the company’s vice president of business development.
The three other businessmen reportedly paid $55 million for the trip.
Larry Connor, a real estate and technology entrepreneur and acrobatics pilot from Ohio, is second in command and serves as a mission pilot. He is in his seventies.
The Ax-1’s remaining crew includes investor, philanthropist and former Israeli fighter pilot Eitan Step, 64, and Canadian businessman and philanthropist Mark Bathy, 52, both serving as mission specialists.
The Ax-1 team has been hailed by all seven regular, government-paid crew members who already operate the space station, which includes three American astronauts.
NASA’s webcast showed the four wide-eyed Axiom astronauts, smiling and in dark blue flight suits, floating upside down, one by one, through the portal to the space station. Once inside, the International Space Station crew greeted them with hugs and handshakes.
Lopez-Alegria later attached astronaut wings to the uniforms of the three astronauts from his Axiom team during a brief welcome party.
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