Axiom Mission-2 astronauts enter International Space Stations; greeted with dates
Axiom Mission -2 (Ax-2) is the second fully private mission to visit the space station, following a first in April 2022
The Internation Space Station on Tuesday welcomed the Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) astronauts Peggy Whitson, and John Shoffner and first Saudi Arbia's astronauts--Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi.
“This shows how space brings everyone together," said Saudi Arabia's first female astronaut, Rayyanah Barnawi, a stem cell researcher. “I'm going to live this experience to the max."
Saudi fighter pilot Ali al-Qarni dedicated the visit to everyone back home. “This mission is not just for me and Rayyanah. This mission is also for the people with ambition and dreams."
The Saudi government is picking up the multimillion-dollar tab for both of them.
Only one other Saudi has flown before in space, a prince who rode on NASA's shuttle Discovery in 1985.
John Shoffner, a businessman who started a sports car racing team, is paying his own way. Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is their chaperone. She works for Axiom Space, the Houston company that organised the 10-day trip, its second to the space station.
NASA is trying to seed a commercial space economy in the region of space known as "Low Earth Orbit," allowing it to focus its own energies on missions deeper into the solar system and beyond.
Ax-2 is the second fully private mission to visit the space station, following a first in April 2022.
The Axiom Mission 1 launched last April, with the seats for three private astronauts accompanying an Axiom-employed astronaut reported costing $55 million each. The cost of seats for Ax-2 has not been disclosed.
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