The world's first private space crew will travel in SpaceX's Crew Dragon and set a pricey precedent.
Axiom Space just named the crew of the world's first private astronaut crew — who each paid $55 million for a ticket to the International Space Station (ISS), according to the company's official website.
A Canadian investor, an American real-estate investor, and a former Israeli Air Force pilot constitute the crew that collectively paid $165 million. And while this is a turning point for the budding space industry — with several companies racing to bring space travel to an affordable private space — it also sets a pricey precedent for future hopeful astronauts who lack deep pockets.
Axiom Space's first private crew to ISS paid $55 million each
The private crew will launch on the Ax-1 mission — courtesy of the Houston, Texas-based tourism company Axiom Space, and lifted via SpaceX's Crew Dragon — which rocketed its initial two crews to the ISS in 2020.
"As the first fully private mission to go to the ISS, we feel an enormous responsibility to do it well," said Michael López-Alegria — the mission's commander and veteran astronaut — to The Verge. "We realize that this is the trend-setter, the bar-setter for the future, and so our goal is to really exceed all expectations."
UPDATE Jan. 26, 3:15 PM EST: Canadian investor to become second-oldest astronaut after John Glenn
The crew includes Mark Pathy — a Canadian philanthropist and investor; Larry Connor, a non-profit activist investor and entrepreneur; and Eytan Stibbe — who was a fighter pilot for the Israeli Air Force and is also an impact investor. Axiom named all three Tuesday morning as the firm's inaugural crew for the first-ever all-private mission.
Connor is 71 and president of the Connor Group — a luxury real-estate investment company with headquarters in Ohio. If Axiom's launch with SpaceX goes forward, Connor will become the second-oldest person to fly to space — second to John Glenn, who piloted the U.S. space shuttle Discovery at age 77.
This is developing news about the first-ever private crew trip to the ISS, so be sure to return here for more updates on this watershed moment for space tourism.