Axiom announces first private crew paying $55 million each for trip to International Space Station

Three men are each paying $55 million to fly on a SpaceX rocket in what has been proposed as the first entirely private spaceflight mission in human history.

Axiom Space, a Houston company, says the trip will be led by former NASA astronaut and space station commander Michael López-Alegría.

The three men, all from different countries, will spend about eight days at the International Space Station next January.

Larry Connor from America, Mark Pathy from Canada and Eytan Stibbe from Israel will travel into low-Earth orbit on the space station. They will undergo training and certification procedures required for crew members of the International Space Station.

According to Axiom, the men will all be performing research tasks while in space.

“Axiom is working with each Axionaut to design on-orbit activities that will fit their mission goals and allow them to shine a global spotlight on the causes that matter most in the world,” the Axiom Space website states.

Connor will work with the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic on research projects and he also intends to provide instructional lessons to students at Dayton Early College Academy in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio.

Pathy is collaborating with the Canadian Space Agency as well as the Montreal Children’s Hospital, who are helping identify health-related research projects that could be undertaken during the mission.

Stibbe plans to conduct scientific experiments of Israeli researchers and entrepreneurs coordinated by the Ramon Foundation and the Israel Space Agency to undertake educational activities from orbit to inspire Israeli children, youth and educators.

“We sought to put together a crew for this historic mission that had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the people on Earth, and I’m glad to say we’ve done that with this group,” Axiom Space President & CEO Michael Suffredini said in an Axiom press release. “This is just the first of several Axiom Space crews whose private missions to the International Space Station will truly inaugurate an expansive future for humans in space – and make a meaningful difference in the world when they return home.”

Axiom intends to arrange up to two trips per year for private and international astronauts. The company is currently building its own privately funded space station that NASA hopes may one day replace the International Space Station. When the space station retires, the Axiom modules would break off to continue in orbit on their own.

“This collection of pioneers – the first space crew of its kind – represents a defining moment in humanity’s eternal pursuit of exploration and progress,” López-Alegría said in a press release. “I know from firsthand experience that what humans encounter in space is profound and propels them to make more meaningful contributions on returning to Earth. And as much as any astronaut who has come before them, the members of this crew have accomplished the sorts of things in life that equip them to accept that responsibility, act on that revelation, and make a truly global impact.”

“I look forward to leading this crew and to their next meaningful and productive contributions to the human story, both on orbit and back home.”