First Tourists To Travel To The International Space Station Dock On The Platform In Orbit

The SpaceX aerospace firm that launched a rocket with three businessmen and an accompanying astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) arrived safely at the orbiting research platform on Saturday to begin a week-long scientific mission hailed as a milestone in flight. commercial space. They arrived 21 hours after departure Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. With this step, NASA joined Russia in welcoming guests to the most expensive tourist destination in the world. It is SpaceX’s first private charter flight to the orbiting laboratory after two years of flying astronauts there for NASA. The capsule was lifted into orbit by the rocket attached to the station around 8:30 am EDT (1230 GMT) on Saturday as the two spacecraft flew about 250 miles (420 km) over the central Atlantic Ocean. NASA livestreamed the docking. Final approach was delayed by a technical failure that disrupted a video feed used to monitor the capsule’s encounter with the station. The problem forced it to pause and hold its position 20 meters from the station for about 45 minutes while mission control fixed the problem. The rocket had taken off on Friday. Traveling are an American, a Canadian and an Israeli who run investment firms, real estate and other sectors. They each paid $55 million for the rocket ride and lodging, with all meals included. As a gift to the seven hosts on the ISS, the four visitors will arrive with paella and other dishes of Spanish cuisine prepared by chef José Andrés. The rest of their time on the orbital base they must eat NASA freeze-dried food. This photo provided by SpaceX shows the SpaceX crew sitting on the Dragon spacecraft at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on April 8, 2022. Once docked, the process was expected to take an additional two hours to pressurize and check if there were leaks before the hatches could be opened, allowing newly arrived astronauts to board the station. Russia has been welcoming tourists to the space station — and previously to the Mir station — for decades. Just last fall, a team of Russian filmmakers visited the orbiting lab, followed by a Japanese fashion mogul and his assistant. NASA has finally done the same, after years of opposing the presence of tourists on the orbital base. The multinational team, which plans to spend eight days in orbit, was led by retired NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, 63, born in Spain, the company’s vice president of business development. His second-in-command was Larry Connor, a real estate and technology entrepreneur and aerobatic aviator from Ohio designated as the mission’s pilot. Connor is in his 70s, but the company did not provide his precise age. “It has been an incredible journey and we look forward to the next 10 days,” said former NASA astronaut Lopez-Alegria after entering orbit. Visitors’ tickets include access to the entire space station, except for the Russian part, for which they will require the authorization of the three cosmonauts on board. In the orbital laboratory there are already three Americans and one German. Lopez-Alegria said he plans to avoid talking about politics and the Ukraine war while he’s on the space station. “Honestly, I think it won’t be awkward. I mean, maybe a little bit,” he added. He hopes that the “spirit of collaboration will shine through.” The private company Axiom Space arranged the visit with NASA on behalf of its three clients: Larry Connor, of Dayton, Ohio, who runs the Connor Group firm; Mark Pathy, founder and CEO of Mavrik Corp., Montreal; and Israeli Eytan Stibbe, former fighter pilot and founding partner of Vital Capital. Before the flight, the enthusiasm of the tourists was evident. Stibbe did a few dance steps as he reached the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. SpaceX and NASA have been upfront with each other about the risks of spaceflight, said Lopez-Alegria, who spent seven months on the ISS 15 years ago. “There is no question, I guess, about what the dangers are or what the bad days might be like,” López-Alegria told The Associated Press before the flight. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Friday, April 8, 2022. (AP Photo/John Raoux) NASA Chief of Space Operations Kathy Lueders said: there is much to be learned from this first visit by tourists on an American flight. “But this takeoff has been a great start,” she added to reporters. Each of the visitors will perform various experiments during their stay, a reason why they don’t like to be called space tourists. “They’re not up there sticking their nose out the window,” said Michael Suffredini, co-founder and president of Axiom, who was previously head of space station programs for NASA. The three entrepreneurs are the last to take advantage of the opening in the space for those visitors with a lot of money. Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin is taking customers on 10-minute trips to the edge of space, while Virgin Galactic hopes to start taking tourists on its spacecraft later this year. Friday’s flight is the second private charter for Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which took a billionaire and his guests on a three-day orbital trip last year. SpaceX’s fifth NASA astronaut flight to the station is just a couple more weeks away. Axiom aims to execute its second private flight to the ISS next year. More customer travel will follow, and Axiom will add its own rooms to the orbital complex starting in 2024. After about five years, the company plans to separate its compartments to form a self-sustaining station, one of several trading posts intended to replace the international orbital base. once it’s decommissioned and NASA shifts its priorities to the Moon. Connect with the ! 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