After several delays, Axiom Space is set to launch its first private crew to the International Space Station (ISS) today. Three paying passengers and a NASA astronaut will launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon, saying they’ll perform research and not be passive space tourists.
Axiom’s passengers include Axiom Space VP and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría; entrepreneur and non-profit activist investor Larry Connor; impact investor and philanthropist Eytan Stibbe; and entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy. The latter three reportedly paid $55 million for the voyage.
The 10-day mission goes far beyond the relatively quick, non-orbital flights space tourists can take aboard Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin flights. It’s also more elaborate than SpaceX’s own Inspiration 4 mission that launched a civilian crew into low-Earth orbit for three days. NASA and its international partner agencies had final approval over Axiom’s proposed crew, which trained for the mission last summer.
The mission was originally schedule to launch on March 30th, but it was pushed forward to April 3rd and then April 6th. The launch moved to today at 11:17 AM EST, and you’ll be able to catch the livestream at Axiom’s website.