First tourists to travel to the international space station dock on the platform in orbit


First lunar charter trip to space station

It is SpaceX's first private charter flight to the orbiting laboratory. They each paid $55 million for the rocket ride and lodging, with all meals included.

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 docked with the station around 8:30 a.m. m. EDT (12:30 GMT) on Saturday as the two spacecraft flew approximately 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 will have to eat NASA freeze-dried food.
Once docking was achieved, the process was expected to take about two more hours to pressurize and check for 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.

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