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Private Space Missions Multiplying Like Rabbits

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
February 6, 2021
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Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the spate of announcements about private space missions over the past year, it’s easy to lose track of the who, what, where, when, why and how of the flights.

As a public service, Parabolic Arc has collected information about all five of the announced missions.

Fourth Quarter 2021

Mission Name: Inspiration4
Mission Type: Orbital free flyer
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
Spacecraft: SpaceX Crew Dragon
Crew: Jared Isaacman (commander), 3 spaceflight participants
Duration: 2-4 days

Isaacman, who is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, is a an accomplished pilot who has flown civilian and military aircraft. He is donating the three other mission seats to people “who will be selected to represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity.”

Isaacman has given St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to fill with:

  • a St. Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission who exemplifies the values of the hospital, and
  • a raffle winner selected from members of the public who financially support St. Jude’s during the month of February.

The final crew member will be awarded to “a deserving entrepreneur who utilizes the new Shift4Shop eCommerce platform.”

Isaacman has committed to give $100 million to St. Jude and is hoping to raise as much as $200 million for the hospital.

More Information: (Official site)

First Quarter 2022

The Axiom Space Ax-1 crew: former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, Canadian businessman Mark Pathy, American investor Larry Connor, and Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe. (Credit: Axiom Space)

Mission Name: Axiom Ax-1
Mission Type: International Space Station visit
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Spacecraft: SpaceX Crew Dragon
Partners: Axiom Space, SpaceX
Crew: Michael López-Alegría (commander), Larry Connor (pilot), Mark Pathy (mission specialist), Eytan Stibbe (mission specialist)
Duration: TBD

López-Alegría flew to space four times during a record-setting 20-year career with NASA. He will be the first person to command both civil and commercial orbital spaceflight missions.

American entrepreneur Conner will serve as the mission’s pilot. Investor and philanthropist Pathy will become the 11th Canadian in space.

Stibbe, a former Israeli Air Force pilot, was a close friend of the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was lost in the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia. He will be flying on behalf of The Ramon Foundation.

The crew plans to conduct a series of scientific experiments and educational projects during the mission.

More Information:


NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 crew members are seen seated in the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during crew equipment interface training. From left to right are NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, mission specialist; Victor Glover, pilot; and Mike Hopkins, Crew Dragon commander; and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist. (Credit: SpaceX)

Mission Name: TBD
Mission Type: Orbital Free Flyer
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
Spacecraft: SpaceX Crew Dragon
Partners: Space Adventures, SpaceX
Crew: Up to four spaceflight participants
Duration: TBD

Details about this mission remain sparse. The mission will attempt to break the orbital altitude record for private citizen spaceflight.

Date TBD

In the Integration Building at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, spaceflight participant Hazzaa Al Mansouri of the United Arab Emirates (left) and Expedition 61 crewmates Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos (center) and Jessica Meir of NASA (right) pose for pictures 11 September in front of their Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

Mission Name: TBD
Mission Type: International Space Station visit
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-2
Spacecraft: Soyuz MA
Partners: RSC Energia, Space Adventures
Crew: Russian cosmonaut and two spaceflight participants
Duration: TBD

The flight will feature a short duration visit to the Russian segment of the space station. One of the spaceflight participants will have the opportunity to conduct a spacewalk outside of the station.

This photograph of a nearly full Moon was taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft at a point above 70 degrees east longitude. Mare Crisium, the circular, dark-colored area near the center, is near the eastern edge of the Moon as viewed from Earth. (Credits: NASA)

Mission Name: Dear Moon
Mission Type: Circumlunar
Spacecraft: Starship
Company: SpaceX
Crew: Yusaku Maezawa, six to eight artists
Duration: ~6 days

The billionaire founder of the clothing company Zozo plans invite six to eight artists on the trip who would create works of art after returning home. The passengers could include painters, sculptors, film directors, architects, writers and fashion designers.

More Information: