For $55 million, anyone can but their way into space. For a select few billionaires, this has become a fun way to spunk their wealth, leaving Earth for a stint on the International Space Station. However, their trips to the ISS have not been as relaxing as they’d hoped.
After the first all-private space trip took a crew of billionaires to the space station, some discovered that the trip was a lot more work than expected. Additionally, the large crew made for a cramped experience for all.
Axiom Space’s billionaires work on the space station
Revealed in a news conference, the crew of Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission spent a total of two weeks aboard the iconic ISS. Originally planned to return to Earth after an eight-day stay, the crew almost doubled their time aboard the Station due to weather conflicts.
Instead of palling around on the ISS, the team of billionaires helped with numerous experiments. However, their inexperience meant that many tests were slowed, and their presence cramming up the station didn’t help.
One experiment that was predicted to take two and a half hours ended up taking five, despite pre-flight training. Other experiments included tech such as holoportation, high-precision optical lenses and actual human cells.
The Axiom crew may have successfully completed their experiments in their 15-day stay, but that did come at the expense of some of NASA’s work. Axiom and NASA confirmed that the ISS was overpopulated, leading science modules to be over-crowded.
“It was a blessing to have the extra time,” said commander Michael López-Alegría. “I think we were so focused on research and outreach in the first 8 or 10 days on orbit that we needed the extra time to complete the experience by having time to look out the window, to make contact with friends and family, to just enjoy the sensation.”
More people are buying tickets to the ISS
The issues with Axiom’s first paid crew to the international Space Station have been chalked up to growing pains. Axiom President Michael Suffredini explained that these were “lessons learnt”.
Axiom is currently gearing up for its next launch to the ISS. Currently, the private space trip has sold three seats to the upcoming mission with more still available.