The first-ever space tourism trip to the ISS is launched today. Here’s how to watch
The first fully private crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is expected launching today April 8. This is the first-ever space tourism mission to the ISS for NASA, operated by Axiom Space and flying on a SpaceX spacecraft. You can watch it all here live.
The 10-day mission, including eight days aboard the ISS, could mean a shift in the work being done in space, especially after Russia pulled out of its research collaboration on the ISS. Private companies like Axiom, which plans to build its own commercial space station when the ISS is retired, are looking to get in on the action.
SpaceX has flown several astronauts to the ISS before and launched its own all-civilian space mission, but this is the first time it has flown paying passengers to the ISS. Travel to and from the ISS will be made by its Crew Dragon Effortwhich previously brought the Crew Dragon Demo-2 and SpaceX Crew-2 missions to the ISS.
During these eight days on board, the four members of the Mission Axiom-1which includes former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría (now vice president of Axiom) and three space tourists who paid $55 million each to travel off Earth, will conduct 25 experiments, including in examining brain activity in real time with this helmet with futuristic look and the world’s first space demonstration bidirectional holoportation.
López-Alegría, who last visited the ISS in 2007, will become the first person to command both a civilian and commercial manned spaceflight mission.
The launch window opens at 11:17 a.m. ET (3:17 p.m. UTC) and will be streamed online as part of a collaboration between NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom. You can watch it below: