Groundbreaking news from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida — SpaceX launches the first private space tourism mission. 

Friday, April 8th, at 11:17 AM, SpaceX and NASA successfully launched the AX-1 mission.

The flight has three paying civilian passengers and one retired astronaut from Axiom Space. Those aboard are undertaking the first-ever space tourism mission. 

SpaceX paves the way for space tourism

The flagship mission will take its passengers on an 18-day journey. They will orbit for ten days and spend eight days at the International Space Station. For this foray into the commercialization of space travel, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule has been selected. 

SpaceX prepares for launch differently than NASA does. NASA fills the rocket propellent tanks before the astronauts board the shuttle. Instead, SpaceX does so at the last minute before take-off.

The purpose of this method is to allow the liquid oxygen to cool for more time, which makes it denser and increases its performance. 

After initial trouble sealing the shuttle, the AX-1 rocketed from the earth, creating a universe of new possibilities. 

Possibilities to infinity and beyond

Lately, there has been increased public interest in space tourism. This is possibly because of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and other public figures discussing the topic. 

As a result, there was a “boom” in private space travel last year. However, all of these 2021 trips were suborbital, which means that they did not leave the earth’s atmosphere. 

This morning’s AX-1 mission marks the first to achieve this benchmark. 

The success of this voyage could mean the start of an entirely new industry. There is so much that can be done with space travel and tourism for those willing to think outside of the box — or outside this planet. 

Featured image source: NASA HQ PHOTO, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr

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