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

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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.”

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Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind

As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

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On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.

The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”

Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.

As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.

American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”

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