After being in space for more than two weeks, the four members of a personal mission return to Earth

After being in space for more than two weeks, the four members of a personal mission return to Earth

The first private mission to the International Space Station, organized by the American company Axium Space, has been completed.

Three businessmen and a former NASA astronaut landed from Florida on Monday (April 25) aboard the SpaceX capsule, after spending 15 days on the International Space Station as part of a private mission.

The capsule and its four crew touched down at 1:00 pm GMT (5:00 pm GMT) after a drowning. They were slowed down by entering the atmosphere, and then by large parachutes. They were later rescued from the Atlantic Ocean by the SpaceX ship beyond Jacksonville.

Millions of dollars each

Named the Ax-1, the mission, organized by the American company Axiom Space, was completely personal since it first went to the International Space Station (ISS). Axiom purchased transport equipment from SpaceX and paid NASA to use its station. Four crew members – three clients who paid $ 10 million each and former Hispanic-American astronaut Michael Lopez-Alexria – left Florida on April 8.

They arrived at the ISS the next day, initially staying there for only eight days. But their departure was postponed several times last week due to bad weather. They finally spent 15 days in the ISS and a total of 17 days in orbit.

Space tourists

Thanks again for all the support during this adventure, it lasted a long time and was more exciting than expected.“At the time of departure, the mission’s commander, Michael Lopez-Alegria, announced: By his side: American Larry Connor, head of a real estate firm, Canadian Mark Patty, owner of an investment firm and former Israeli pilot Aidan Stebe, co – founder of the Investment Fund.” ” Refuse to see that.Space tourists“.

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They argue that they are actually conducting a full series of experiments on the ISS in collaboration with research centers and universities. This work focuses on aging or even heart health. According to the station’s record book published on NASA’s blog, Canadian Mark Fatty also spent a lot of time on the ISS’s famous observatory Kopola photographing the Earth.

New tasks coming soon

Monday marks the fifth landing of the one-man Dragon capsule. SpaceX is now carrying NASA astronauts to ISS. There are currently seven people at the station: three Americans and a crew member (a crew known as the Crew-3) who sailed on a German SpaceX ship, as well as three Russians aboard the Soyuz rocket.

The other four astronauts (three Americans and one Italian) are all set to join the crew in the coming days. Once the handover is complete, Crew-3 will return to Earth. Elon Musk’s company also undertook another mission that was completely personal last year (Inspiration 4), but it did not go to the space station, and all four passengers were in the capsule for three days.

Space privatization movement

Newcomers had already visited the ISS, especially in the 2000s, but they flew aboard the Soyuz with astronauts in the gym. Last year, Russia resumed this kind of voyage, sending a crew, and then the Japanese billionaire. NASA is clearly encouraging this movement for its part to privatize low orbit.

On the one hand, it wants to make money from these private jobs (second, Ax-2, already approved). But above all, after the retirement of the ISS in 2030, NASA no longer wants to manage the operation of a space station and send the torch to private companies. The U.S. agency will hire its services to send its astronauts there so it can focus on distance exploration.

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Axiom Space is one of the most advanced companies to position itself in this space: it wants to release the first volume from its own station in 2024. The system will first be connected to the ISS before it takes its autonomy to ensure the relay. According to Axiom space leaders, the accumulated experience thanks to the Ax-1 marks an important first step aimed at laying the foundation for many more to come.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

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