In the first all-private mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX flew four astronauts for Axiom Space

On behalf of commercial aerospace business Axiom Space, SpaceX launched the first all-private crew of astronauts to the International Space Station on Friday.

Michael López-Alegra, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe were among the crew members of the Axiom-1 mission, which was launched into orbit by a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:17 a.m. EDT, according to NASA.

“What a momentous occasion! Thank you to NASA’s committed personnel for their tireless efforts in making this mission a reality “NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated.

“Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom-1 crew for bringing the first private trip to the International Space Station to fruition,” he added.

The astronauts will spend more than a week aboard the ISS conducting scientific research, outreach, and commercial operations, according to NASA.

Starting at 5:45 a.m. EDT on Saturday, NASA will stream the docking of the SpaceX capsule, hatch opening, and welcome ceremony live via this link.

During the expedition, each of the four soldiers has a different job to play. The flight’s commander will be López-Alegra, a retired NASA astronaut and Axiom vice president. The expedition will be piloted by Connor, an activist investor, with Pathy, a Canadian investor, and Stibbe, an Israeli businessman, acting as mission specialists.

The crew members’ seats on the historic trip cost $55 million each, according to Insider.

“This journey is the result of countless hours of training, planning, and dedication from the crew and the entire Axiom Space team, our SpaceX partners, and, of course, a testament to NASA’s vision to develop a sustainable presence in low-Earth orbit,” said Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space.

Axiom Space tweeted early Saturday with the most recent mission update: “As they travel over the southern tip of South America, the #Ax1 astronauts (and Caramel the dog) have just checked in. They’re getting ready to dock with @Space Station.”

Between fall 2022 and late spring 2023, Axiom Space plans to fly a second commercial mission to the International Space Station. Peggy Whitson, a record-breaking astronaut, will be the flight’s commander, with John Shoffner serving as the mission’s pilot.