Watch | Scripting history: For first time, all-private astronaut mission to ISS soars in space
The flight, which is being hailed by several people as a new milestone in the commercialisation of low-Earth orbit, lifted off at 11:17 am EDT (1517 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
History has been made today. For the first time, an all-private astronaut mission, Axiom Mission 1, has been sent to International Space Station (ISS).
The four-member crew, who were selected by Houston-based startup Axiom Space Inc, left for the space laboratory in a SpaceX rocket ship on Friday. It is the landmark debut spaceflight for the firm.
It is sending three customers, who have paid for the flight and an Axiom employee Michael López-Alegría to the ISS for an eight-day stay.
López-Alegría, who is also a former NASA astronaut, is leading the mission. While the other three are pilot Larry Connor and mission specialists, Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy. The four astronauts will stay and work on the flying outpost.
The flight, which is being hailed by several people as a new milestone in the commercialisation of low-Earth orbit, lifted off at 11:17 am EDT (1517 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This takes commerce to a whole new level. @Axiom_Space's #Ax1 mission is on its way to the @Space_Station in @SpaceX's Dragon Endeavour—a key step in our ongoing work to open opportunities for space travelers in low-Earth orbit. pic.twitter.com/SZk7Tseykw— NASA (@NASA) April 8, 2022
Axiom’s live video webcast showed the SpaceX launch vehicle, which had a Falcon 9 rocket topped by its Crew Dragon capsule, soaring towards space over Florida's Atlantic coast.
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The cameras, which were inside the crew compartment, also showed footage of the four men moments before the rocket lifted off.
LIVE: Axiom Mission 1 is lifting off from @NASAKennedy for eight days of science, outreach, and commercial activities on the @Space_Station!— NASA (@NASA) April 8, 2022
Launch is scheduled for 11:17am ET (15:17 UTC)—join us, @Axiom_Space, and @SpaceX for live #Ax1 coverage. https://t.co/xU6PuWRCqI
According to the plan, the team will arrive at the space station on Saturday. After around 20-hour-plus flight, the Crew Dragon, which is autonomously operated, will dock with the orbiting outpost around 400 km above the Earth.
The team is carrying equipment and supplies for 26 science and technology experiments, which will be conducted before they head home.
(With inputs from agencies)