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NASA to launch three amateur astronauts to ISS this week


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They launched on Friday (yesterday)


The flight, organised by the Houston-based company Axiom Space, lifted off at 11:17am EST from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"That was a hell of a ride," crewmember Michael López-Alegría, a retired NASA astronaut who now serves as the vice president of business development for Axiom Space, radioed to mission controllers after reaching orbit.

The visitors' tickets include access to all but the Russian portion of the space station, and three Americans and a German also live up there.


The link includes a video of the launch.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Crew of first private flight to ISS head back to Earth

The crew of the first fully private mission to the International Space Station departed the orbiting laboratory on Monday to head back to Earth.

The three businessmen and a former NASA astronaut had spent more than two weeks on the station on a history-making mission organized by startup company Axiom Space.

The SpaceX capsule undocked from the ISS at 0110 GMT for the return trip and was scheduled to land in the ocean off the coast of Florida at around 1:00 pm local time (1700 GMT).

The four men—three of whom paid tens of millions of dollars for the rare chance to take part in the mission—were originally scheduled to spend only eight days on the space station.

Bad weather on Earth forced repeated delays in their return, however.


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