The four crew members – Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut turned Axiom employee who commands the mission; Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe; Canadian investor Mark Pathy; and Ohio-based real estate mogul Larry Connor are scheduled to depart the space station aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday at 8:35 p.m. ET. They will spend a day flying freely in orbit before falling back into the atmosphere and parachuting in to land off the coast of Florida around 1:46 p.m. ET on Sunday.
For each mission, providing the necessary NASA astronaut support will cost commercial customers $5.2 million, and all mission support and planning that NASA lends will cost an additional $4.8 million. In space, food alone costs about $2,000 per day per person. Getting supplies to and from the space station for a commercial crew costs an additional $88,000 to $164,000 per person per day.
But the extra days the AX-1 crew spends in space due to weather won’t increase their own overall price, according to a NASA statement.
“Knowing that International Space Station mission objectives, such as the recently performed Russian spacewalk or weather challenges, could result in a delayed undocking, NASA negotiated the contract with a strategy that does not require reimbursement for additional undocking delays,” the statement read.
But AX-1 is the first mission with a crew consisting entirely of private citizens with no active members of a government astronaut corps accompanying them in the capsule during the journey to and from the ISS. It is also the first time that private citizens have traveled to the ISS aboard a US-made spacecraft.