With the Spanish commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, the first private expedition to the International Space Station is set for this afternoon. Former NASA astronaut, Michael Lopez-Alegria, will fly into space for the fifth and first time as a citizen from the country where he was raised in 1958. Investors Larry Connor (USA), Mark Pathy, Canada and Eytan Stebbe (Israel) will accompany him on the ten day trip. They have paid a staggering $55 million per head.
Axiom-1 (or Ax-1) is the first manned mission by Axiom Space. Lopez-Alegria serves as vice president. This company is based in Houston, Texas. It thus enters the space tourism sector, where it hopes to be a major player. Elon Musk's company is already working on modules that will be integrated into ISS in the future. His forecasts predict that the Axiom space modules will be separated and integrated into the first private orbital station after the international platform's useful life ends.
The Falcon 9 rocket launched from the Axiom-1 launch pad mission. SPACEX
Today's launch of the Ax-1 rocket is scheduled to take place at 5:17 p.m. Platform 39A of Kennedy Space Center will launch at 5:17 p.m. It will then be that the Crew Dragon ship of Lopez-Alegria, along with his crew, will launch from the top of a Falcon 9 rocket. The spacecraft and the capsule are the same as the ones American astronauts use to reach the ISS since 2020. Ten days later the space capsule will make its way into Florida waters.
Lopez Alegria was born in Madrid, 1958 and raised in California. He has been a US Navy pilot four times and flown into space. He was a part of three space shuttle missions between 1995 and 2002. Between 2006 and 2007, he spent seven month on the ISS. This is where he arrived, and then he got off to board a Russian ship. He is second in the world to have more experience on extravehicular missions (space walks), only behind Anatoly Solovyev from Russia. He was a NASA astronaut, and an American citizen.
Official badge or patch for the first manned mission of humans to the ISS. / AXIOM SPACE
Ax-1 was the first space mission to be led by a Spanish commander. This is evident in both the official insignia as well as Lopez-Alegria’s suit. The astronauts will be performing educational, scientific and informative activities during the ten-day stay in orbit -eight days on the ISS. This program includes 25 microgravity experiments as well as a dozen pre-, post-, and post-mission experiments. Connor will collaborate with the Mayo Clinic on stem cell research to examine how microgravity affects heart and aging cells. Pathy will demonstrate Holographic Communication: She will project to Earth with the hologram from someone down there and communicate with the station. Lopez-Alegria will assist them all and also serve as the subject of experiments that aim to understand the effects of microgravity upon our bodies.
Crew members of the Axiom-1 mission will eat healthier than their predecessors. Michael Lopez-Alegria, his crew, and their fellow astronauts will be far more sophisticated than the pioneers' primitive food tubes. They will be able to enjoy a menu created by Jose Andres and the ThinkFoodGroup team. It includes Valencian paella, Marcona almonds, Marcona ratatouille, Marcona ham, and Iberian sausage. This meets both NASA's technical and nutritional requirements.
Jose Andres said that paella was the choice for the menu as it implicitly promotes sharing. The traditional way families eat paella is to place the pan on the table in the middle of the table. This allows for the family to share the dish. We believe in sharing. We believe we all share the same planet.
Charisse Dickens (Hawaiian chef) is the director of the space menu project. She is part of Jose Andres’s team. Charisse has created the dishes with Jose Andres's crew, and their palates have approved of the creations. Lopez Alegria's friend and Asturian chef Charisse Dickens, who believes that sending people to the stars could help solve some of the problems on Earth, was confronted by those who believe that space travel should be done before we can solve our problems down here.