A private space company that’s planning to send the first all-private crew to the International Space Station announced on Wednesday that they will conduct medical and scientific experiments during their time in low Earth orbit.
Axiom Space said former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria will command the crew of four, who will fly to the space station on a SpaceX rocket in February. The company has not announced a firm date.
Mission pilot Larry Connor will conduct an experiment on behalf of the Mayo and Cleveland clinics, and mission specialist Mark Pathy will perform research for the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Canadian Research Universities and Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
An experiment by mission specialist Eytan Stibbe will benefit the Ramon Foundation in collaboration with the Israel Space Agency in Israeli Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.
The crew is scheduled to perform more than two dozen experiments in all, the company said.
“Humanity has only scratched the surface of low-Earth orbit’s potential for breakthrough innovation, and Axiom was founded to push that envelope,” Axiom President Michael Suffredini said in a statement.
“We’re confident this mission will become not just a monumental moment in space travel, but the true beginning of making space’s potential for meaningful discovery available to private citizens and organizations for the first time.”
Dr. James Kirkland, director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic, said the private venture opens new doors to research.
Connor’s research is designed to produce data on the impact of space travel on senescent cells and heart health.
“Ninety-five percent of what we’re trying to do is to benefit people on Earth,” Kirkland said in a statement.
“I never thought I’d be working with people headed to space, yet here we are.”Internet Explorer Channel Network