Ax-1 Private Astronaut Mission Arrives at International Space Station

Space station crew welcomes the Ax-1 astronauts to the ISS. (Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON (Axiom Space PR) — The historic Ax-1 crew has arrived at the International Space Station. Commander  Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Larry Connor, Mission Specialist Eytan Stibbe, and Mission Specialist Mark Pathy entered the space station shortly after the hatch opened at 10:13 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 9.   

The Axiom astronauts were welcomed by Expedition 67 crew members, including NASA astronauts Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg ArtemyevSergey Korsokov, and Denis Matveev. With the addition of the Ax astronauts there are now 11 people working and living on the orbiting laboratory.  

The crew received a call from the ground from NASA’s Kathy Lueders, Associate Administrator for Space Operations and Michael Suffredini, President and CEO, Axiom Space who congratulated the crew for making history as the first all-private astronaut crew to the International Space Station.   

Shortly after, López-Alegría, in his role as mission commander, pinned Connor, Stibbe, and Pathy with a pin from the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), signifying their status as astronauts and official start of their journey aboard the space station.  ASE, an international association of astronauts who have flown into Earth orbit and beyond, created the pin as a universal astronaut insignia to unite space explorers and travelers.  

“There’s a tradition when you pass a certain boundary you become an astronaut. That happened to these three gentlemen for the first time yesterday. Now I’d like to note it officially,” López-Alegría explained before pinning each of his Ax-1 crewmates. “When I pin these on — I think the numbers are 582, 583, and 584 for Larry, Eytan, and Mark — I hope they will wear these with the pride they deserve.” 

The Ax-1 crew will live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory for eight days, conducting more than 25 research experiments across a breadth of biological and technological areas to inform future human spaceflight and improve life on Earth. Ax-1 is the first of several proposed Axiom Space missions to the International Space Station, and a critical first step toward Axiom Station, the world’s first commercial space station.    

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