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Tourists blast off to space station

Three businessmen and an astronaut are seated in the Axiom spacecraft before blastoff on Friday in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Associated Press/Photo by SpaceX

Tourists blast off to space station

Three passengers paid $55 million each to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., for a 20-hour space flight. SpaceX on Friday launched the first privately chartered flight to the International Space Station, arranged by Axiom Space. Russia has been sending tourists there on and off for decades, a practice NASA previously opposed.

Who are the passengers? Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria accompanied the three businessmen: Larry Connor of the Connor Group; Mark Pathy, founder and CEO of Montreal’s Mavrik Corp.; and Israel’s Eytan Stibbe, a former fighter pilot and founding partner of Vital Capital. Each went through five months of astronaut training and has a set of experiments to conduct. Their 10-day stay with all meals included grants them access to the whole station except the Russian part, where they will need permission from the resident cosmonauts. Axiom is planning more customer trips to the ISS with the goal of building its own self-sustaining space station.

Dig deeper: Listen to Paul Butler’s report in The World and Everything in It podcast on billionaire trips to space.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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