Launch of first civilian commercial crew to space station slips to Friday

Launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying the first all-civilian crew on a commercial, non-government flight to the International Space Station is slipping from Wednesday to at least Friday, the mission’s sponsor announced Sunday. No reason for the slip was given.

Houston-based Axiom Space said launch from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center is now targeted for no earlier than 11:17 a.m. ET Friday, April 8, setting up a docking at the space station Saturday morning around 7:30 a.m.

Mission commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, an Axiom vice president and former NASA astronaut, and three wealthy investor/entrepreneurs — Larry Connor, Canadian Mark Pathy and Israeli Eytan Stibbe, a former F-16 fighter ace — plan to spend about nine days aboard the lab carrying out privately funded research before undocking and returning to Earth.

The flight is the first NASA-sanctioned «private astronaut mission» to the space station as the agency attempts to expand commercial investment in low-Earth orbit research and development.

The AX-1 crew during training (left to right): Larry Connor, commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe.

Axiom Space/SpaceX

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