The latest orbital tourist flight launched from the United States, Inspiration4, was chartered by Jared Isaacman, a billionaire who decided to give opportunities to three people who could never have afforded the trip on their own. In contrast, each of Axiom’s space travelers pays their own way.
Larry Connor, managing partner of The Connor Group, a Dayton, Ohio company that owns and operates luxury apartments;
Mark Pathy, managing director of Mavrik Corporation, a Canadian investment firm;
And Eytan Stibbe, an investor and former Israeli Air Force pilot.
The three did not know each other before.
While the space station’s first private travelers were accompanied by professional Russian astronauts, the Axiom-1 mission is “very different in that the entire crew is not affiliated with any government,” Derek said. Hassmann, COO at Axiom.
The space station trip commander will be Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut who is now vice president of Axiom. Mr. López-Alegría participated in three space shuttle missions, then served as commander of the space station from September 2006 to April 2007.
“When I left NASA 10 years ago, I became a strong advocate and supporter of commercial spaceflight in general and commercial human spaceflight in particular,” López-Alegría told a conference. press last month.
Mr. Connor’s previous exploits include a trip in a deep-sea submersible to the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean, more than 35,000 feet below the surface in the Mariana Trench; aerobatic flight competitions; and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
During the press conference, Mr. Connor objected to being called a space tourist.
“Space tourists will spend 10 or 15 hours training 5 to 10 minutes in space,” he said. “And by the way, it’s okay. In our case, depending on our role, we spent between 750 and more than 1,000 hours of training.
Mr Connor also highlighted the science experiments he and his teammates will be conducting.
Mr. Pathy is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Stingray Group, a Montreal-based media and entertainment company, and sits on the boards of several charitable organizations. “I always wanted to go to space when I was a kid,” he said. “It’s always been an unrealizable fantasy.”
A friend of Mr. Pathy told him about the Axiom private spaceflight missions. “This conversation challenged me to make this dream a reality,” he said.
Mr. Stibbe founded Vital Capital, a private equity fund that aims to improve housing, water, electricity and health care in developing countries while bringing in money for investors. He knew Ilan Ramon, another Israeli Air Force pilot turned astronaut who died when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated while returning to Earth in 2003.
“He was a good friend,” Mr Stibbe said. “He was my commanding officer in the squadron. And I had the opportunity to visit him during his training.
Mr Stibbe said he would continue an experiment Mr Ramon started involving the observation of thunderstorms. He will also take a few pages from a diary that Mr. Ramon had kept in orbit at Columbia and which was later found on the ground.