US to launch first private astronaut mission to space station

The International Space Station (ISS) photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking, October 4, 2018. (File photo: CGTN)

NASA, Axiom Space, and SpaceX are targeting April 6 to launch Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.

Axiom Space astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe are prime crew members of the Ax-1 mission.

López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut, will serve as mission commander. Connor from the United States will serve as the pilot, and Canadian Pathy and Stibbe, an Israeli, will serve as mission specialists, according to NASA.

During the 10-day mission, the crew will spend eight days at the International Space Station conducting scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities, the agency said.