The four crew members — Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut-turned-Axiom employee who is commanding the mission; Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe; Canadian investor Mark Pathy; and Ohio-based real estate magnate Larry Connor — are slated to leave the space station aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on Sunday at 8:55 pm ET. Strapped into their spacecraft, the hatch, which keeps an airtight seal intact on the space station after a vehicle departs, was closed just before 7:30 pm ET.
For each mission, bringing on the necessary support from NASA astronauts will cost commercial customers $5.2 million, and all the mission support and planning that NASA lends is another $4.8 million. While in space, food alone costs an estimated $2,000 per day, per person. Getting provisions to and from the space station for a commercial crew is another $88,000 to $164,000 per person, per day.
But the extra days the AX-1 crew spent in space due to weather won’t add to their own personal overall price tag, according to a statement from NASA.
“Knowing that International Space Station mission objectives like the recently conducted Russian spacewalk or weather challenges could result in a delayed undock, NASA negotiated the contract with a strategy that does not require reimbursement for additional undock delays,” the statement reads.
But AX-1 is the first mission with a crew entirely comprised of private citizens with no active members of a government astronaut corps accompanying them in the capsule during the trip to and from the ISS. It’s also the first time private citizens have traveled to the ISS on a US-made spacecraft.