Axiom House unveils the crew for his or her first area odyssey in 2022 (Sorry, Tom Cruise)
Axiom Space’s first privately funded trip to the International Space Station will be as remarkable to those who are not on the crew as it is to those who are.
Sorry Tom Cruise: Your space film will have to wait.
Since last May, Tom Cruise fans and space fans have raved about reports that the star of the films “Top Gun” and “Mission: Impossible” worked with NASA and SpaceX to fly to the space station and shoot scenes for a movie.
According to some reports, Cruise and director Doug Liman had planned a trip through Axiom Space, which signed a contract with NASA and SpaceX for private space missions.
The entire crew was announced in “Good Morning America” on ABC News on January 26th: Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria will command the “Crew Dragon” mission. Investors Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe are each paying $ 55 million to stay at Lopez-Alegria for 10 days in 2022. Axiom says it is still working with NASA to iron out the details.
Even without Cruise, there could be some film-worthy twists in missionary history. Connor turned 71 this month, making him the second Septuagenarian to go into orbit. (The late astronaut Senator John Glenn, who flew the Shuttle Discovery in 1998 at the age of 77, was the first.)
“Someone said to me, ‘You will be the second oldest person to ever go into space. ‘And my answer, which they already knew, was, “Well, I think age is overrated,” Connor, head of a real estate investment firm in Ohio, told ABC News.
Connor, who is a private pilot, receives the title of Mission Pilot for the Ax-1 mission. Pathy and Stibbe will fly as mission specialists.
Pathy is a Montreal businessman and philanthropist who follows in the footsteps of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy LaLiberte as a Canadian citizen astronaut. Stibbe, a former fighter pilot, will be the second Israeli citizen to fly in space (after Ilan Ramon, who died nearly 18 years ago when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during its descent).
Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson will be the mission’s backup commander. John Shoffner, an entrepreneur and racing enthusiast who lives in Tennessee, will be the backup pilot. Both the Prime and Backup crews are trained for 15 weeks.
“This gathering of pioneers – the first space crew of its kind – is a defining moment in humanity’s eternal quest for exploration and progress,” said Lopez-Alegría, a four-space flight veteran, in a press release.
Commercial space flight participants have visited the space station since 2001 when California investment advisor Dennis Tito embarked on an unprecedented orbital journey on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. However, Ax-1 will be the first privately funded mission to take full advantage of a space commercialization initiative unveiled by NASA in 2019.
Cruise, Liman and other Hollywood guys could reserve their own spots for distant space odysseys – either on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, who has already carried professional astronauts to the space station on two missions; or Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner space taxi, which NASA crews could fly this year.
“This is just the first of several Axiom Space crews whose private missions to the International Space Station will open an expansive future for people in space – and make a meaningful difference in the world when they return home,” said Axiom Space President and CEO Michael Suffredini, NASA space station program manager from 2005 to 2015.
Eventually, if Axiom Space executes its current business plan, it could offer spaceflight a new home away from home: a residential module designed and built for the company’s customers. When the space station retires, this module could become the Axiom’s own outpost.
An earlier version of this report was published in Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log.
Main picture: Mission Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria (far left) is accompanied by Mark Pathy, Larry Connor and Eylan Stibbe on a 10-day visit to the International Space Station. Image Credit: Axiom Space