SpaceX has confirmed the first four people who will fly aboard the Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS. The mission is known as AX-1 and will be the first mission to transport a crew composed entirely of private citizens to the ISS. The mission will take place not before January 2022.
The plan is to send private astronauts to the ISS for eight days. SpaceX says this is a big step for Crew Dragon designed specifically to take passengers from Earth to the ISS. First, the spacecraft will be used to send NASA astronauts into orbit, but SpaceX is using it to put private citizens into orbit as well.
Before the Crew Dragon, to take American astronauts into space, it was necessary to buy a seat aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. So far, Crew Dragon has carried six people into space for missions that took place last May and November. Another Boeing spacecraft is under construction, known as the Starliner, but has not yet completed a mission.
All four private astronauts are from the Axiom Space. The private crew includes mission commander Michael López-Alegría, who is a former NASA astronaut. Other crew members include pilot Larry Connor, Canadian Mark Pathy and Etyan Stibbe, Israel’s second astronaut.
SpaceX will be busy during 2021 with the Crew-2 mission scheduled to take place earlier this year. This will be the second flight without a test crew from the spacecraft that takes four astronauts to the ISS. At the end of 2021, Crew-3 will be launched taking four more astronauts to the space station. As with any store, there is no guarantee that SpaceX will be able to meet these schedules with potentially delayed or delayed missions.