SpaceX launches first-ever private space tourism mission

SpaceX, Tesla (TSLA) – Get the report from Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk’s aerospace company successfully launched a crew of four astronauts on Friday, April 8 on the first fully private mission to the International Space Station.

“Falcon 9 and Dragon lift off!”

The company’s Dragon spacecraft was launched atop a Falcon 9 booster from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The roughly 10-day mission is being led by Houston-based commercial aerospace company Axiom Space.

This is SpaceX’s first private charter flight to the orbiting lab after two years of ferrying astronauts for NASA.

SpaceX tweeted images liftoff at 11:18 a.m. Friday morning, noting that this was the fifth flight of the Falcon 9 first-stage booster.

The company tweeted footage of the Falcon 9 booster landing on a drone stationed in the Atlantic Ocean after separating from the spacecraft.

“The Ax-1 crew will participate in outreach activities and conduct innovative research experiments in the orbiting laboratory,” SpaceX said in a statement.

A series of burns

SpaceX pictures posted of the Dragon separating from the Falcon 9 second stage.

The company also released an illustration depicting a series of “burns,” or orbital maneuvers, en route to the space station for a targeted docking at 7:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, April 9.

The crew is made up of an American, a Canadian and an Israeli who run investment, real estate and other companies that pay $55 million each for rocket flight and accommodation , all meals included, according to The Associated Press.

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Former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría commands the mission.

Larry Connor, founder of The Connor Group, is the pilot; Eytan Stibbe, philanthropist and former Israeli fighter pilot, is a mission specialist, as is Mark Pathy, an entrepreneur and philanthropist from Montreal.

Russia has welcomed tourists to the space station – and before that to the Mir station – for decades.

Visitors will have access to everything except the Russian part of the space station. They will need permission from the three cosmonauts on board.

“Absolutely radical”

Lopez-Alegria told AP he plans to avoid talking about politics and the war in Ukraine while on the space station.

“Yo, I just saw the rocket on the way to school. Absolutely radical,” said one person on Twitter.

“God accelerate AX1,” tweeted another commenter who posted images of Disney’s Grogu, or Baby Yoda, (SAY) – Get the Walt Disney Company report “The Mandalorian” series.

“Me watching a rocket launch for the first time,” reads a caption alongside an amazed Grogu.

“Me watching a rocket launch for the 367th time,” reads the second caption, alongside the same image.

The launch caps off a big week for Musk, who revealed he now owns 9% of Twitter (TWTR) – Get the report from Twitter Inc.and changed his ownership from passive to active, with the likely aim of bringing about changes in the business.

Musk also presided over the grand opening of his Gigafactory in Austin, Texas with a big party dubbed the Cyber ​​Rodeo.

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