Want To Get (Really) Away? Consider A Trip To Space

Courtesy of Axiom Space

It’s that dreary post-holiday time of the year when many of us have our calendars out and are plotting when and where to go on vacation this year. 

But what if vacation meant no hotel reservations and minimal packing? I’m not talking about an RV trip or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. How about a trip into outer space? 

A rocket ship is on its way to the International Space Station after an early evening SpaceX launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission, designated Ax-3, is the third collaboration between NASA, SpaceX and Axiom Space, a commercial spaceflight company based in Houston, according toUSA Today. Axiom says it’s the first all-European commercial astronaut mission to the ISS.



“Unlike a NASA mission, this one is paid for by Axiom Space, a Houston-based company flying its third group of paying passengers to the I.S.S. It contracts with SpaceX to get to and from the orbital laboratory,” per NPR. “Axiom plans to build its own space station in orbit one day and it's using these missions to help in its planning and designs.”

The spacecraft is expected to arrive at the space station early Saturday morning. While the 36-hour trip sounds adventurous, it’s actually a working vacation.

The capsule will take the next 36 hours racing to catch up to the I.S.S. as it circles about 250 miles above Earth. The crew will join seven other people currently on the space station about 250 miles above earth. 

After docking, the crew will spend two weeks at the laboratory performing about 30 experiments, including "microgravity research, technology demonstrations, and outreach engagements," according to Axiom.

“Unlike on earlier such flights, none of the passengers are wealthy space tourists paying their own way to orbit,” according toThe New York Times. “Instead, three of the crew members are sponsored by their nations — Italy, Sweden and Turkey. For Turkey, the crew member is the country’s first astronaut.”

Alper Gezeravc is a fighter pilot with the Turkish air force.

“Axiom organizes flights to the space station that last only a couple of weeks,”  according to CNN. “Any private citizen or country can sign up, and seats have sold for $55 million each. An Axiom executive declined to comment on pricing for this mission.”

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