Private space crew paying $55M each to fly to station

This combination of photos provided by Axiom Space in January 2021 shows, from left, Larry Connor, Michael Lopez-Alegria, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe. They will be the first private space station crew, a year ahead of the planned launch. (Courtesy Axiom Space via AP)

Three very rich and adventurous men are spending US $55 million each to be on the first private space station crew.

They are; Larry Connor, a real estate and tech entrepreneur from Dayton, Ohio, Canadian financier Mark Pathy and Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe, a close friend of Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the space shuttle Columbia accident in 2003.

They’ll be led by a former NASA astronaut now working for Axiom Space, Michael Lopez-Alegria. The trip to space will happen next January.

“This is the first private flight to the International Space Station. It’s never been done before,” said Axiom’s chief executive and president Mike Suffredini, a former space station program manager for NASA.

The crew will spend eight days at the space station and will take one or two days to get there aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule following liftoff from Cape Canaveral.

They also intend to perform scientific research in orbit, along with educational outreach.

“These guys are all very involved and doing it for kind of for the betterment of their communities and countries, and so we couldn’t be happier with this makeup of the first crew because of their drive and their interest,” Axiom’s chief executive and president Mike Suffredini said.