SpaceX and NASA Launch First Private Mission to the Space Station, Three paying passengers and a former NASA astronaut took off for the International Space Station on Friday. The Axiom-1 mission is NASA’s first attempt at space tourism onboard the orbiting outpost. The team will spend ten days in space, including eight days inside the station, thanks to the business Axiom Space.

The Axiom-1 mission took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:17 a.m. Eastern time. The men are aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which is similar to the one used by NASA astronauts and was sent into orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Before the rocket ignited and launched the crew to space, the countdown to launch was nearly faultless, with perfect weather and systems working as predicted.

Live coverage of the voyage is accessible in the video player above, and Axiom Space’s Twitter feed will offer updates on the crew, who will spend around 20.5 hours in orbit before reaching the space station.

A news conference following the launch is set for 12:30 p.m.

Axiom and NASA will webcast the Crew Dragon’s approach and docking to the International Space Station beginning at 5:30 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday.

The astronauts are aboard the same spaceship that NASA uses to transport people into orbit. As a result, the space agency has imposed a number of safety requirements on it. So yet, no severe safety issues have been detected with the spacecraft throughout its five flights.

From the moment the crew members are confined into a spaceship until they safely emerge, every voyage to space is fraught with peril. Astronauts have perished on the launchpad, in orbit (the space shuttle Challenger), and as they re-entered the atmosphere (the Apollo 1 catastrophe) (the space shuttle Columbia). The Apollo 13 mission’s failure demonstrated the challenge of returning a crew back when the spacecraft is damaged and far from Earth.

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