NASA is about to send its first private astronauts — known as space tourists — to the International Space Station.
Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy, American entrepreneur Larry Connor and former Israeli Air Force pilot Eytan Stibbe reportedly spent an eye-watering $55 million each for the 10-day experience.
The trio goes into space with mission commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría.
Falcon 9 and Dragon vertical on 39A; targeting Friday April 8 for Ax-1 launch → https://t.co/sIz9U6NRxT pic.twitter.com/NSJqo3FBb4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) Apr 6, 2022
Hosted by Texas-based Axiom Space and using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule, the Ax-1 mission will take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida late in the morning on Friday, April 8.
Before any rocket launch, weather characteristics such as wind, precipitation, cloud cover, humidity and temperature must be carefully monitored. Measurements that fall outside NASA’s acceptable range for launch will delay the mission until conditions improve.
The good news is that as of Wednesday, the weather conditions for Friday’s launch look pretty good. With little chance of precipitation and acceptable wind speeds, the mission has been given an 80% chance of launching on time (barring any last minute technical issues), the main concern being the possible appearance of a thick layer of cloud in the Surface.
Docking with the ISS is expected to take place on Saturday morning, followed shortly by a welcome ceremony when the newcomers will meet the current ISS crew of seven astronauts for the first time.
While living aboard the outpost 250 miles above Earth, the four visitors will conduct various science experiments as well as conduct outreach and commercial activities. Watch these insightful videos created by crew members over the years to learn more about how astronauts live and work on the ISS.
Also, if you’re interested in watching a livestream of the launch, as well as ISS docking and the welcome event the next morning, Custom Hour can help.