Topline

The first private mission to the International Space Station took off at 11:17 a.m. ET on Friday from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, carrying three tourists in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in a flight arranged by the company Axiom Space.

Key Facts

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NASA has touted the partnership between Axiom Space and SpaceX as a key step in achieving its goal to commercialize “low Earth orbit.”

The mission, called AX-1, is led by Michael Lopez-Alegría, 63, a former NASA astronaut, who is shepherding three customers: Larry Connor, 72, an Ohio real estate mogul; Mark Pathy, 52, founder and CEO of Montreal-based family office Mavrik Corp, and Eytan Stibbe, 64, an Israeli businessman.

They are expected to arrive at the space station, some 250 miles above Earth, in 28 hours, Reuters reported,

During the 10-day trip the tourists will participate in scientific research–aging in space and stem cell experiments—and technology demonstrations, Axiom Space said in a statement.

They will live with the regular crew at the space station, including three Americans and three Russians, AFP reported,