Ax-1: How to watch SpaceX's first space tourism launch to the ISS live
SpaceX is on the verge of sending its first space tourism mission to the International Space Station (ISS), months after it launched another space tourism mission, Inspiration4, into Earth orbit.
The new mission, called Ax-1, is organized by Texas-based Axiom Space, which also plans to launch and operate the world's first commercial space station. The whole event will be livestreamed online. Here's how you can watch it.
SpaceX's first space tourism mission to the ISS
Axiom Space reached an agreement with SpaceX and NASA to launch a 10-day mission, Ax-1, to the ISS from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at approximately 12:05 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT) on Wednesday, April 6.
The trip will reportedly cost its passengers a total of $55 million. As a point of reference, Virgin Galactic's suborbital space trips cost approximately $450,000 per passenger. The main difference between Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, and SpaceX, is that SpaceX offers its passengers the opportunity to stay in orbit for days. Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, meanwhile, allow passengers to experience weightlessness for a few minutes before returning to Earth.
The crew for Ax-1 is made up of Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy, former Israeli Air Force pilot Eytan Stibbe, American businessman Larry Connor, and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría.
The crew members have been training for months for the Ax-1 mission and they won't merely be going up to take in the views of our planet from the iconic space station — which is also a focal point for tensions between Russia and the U.S. following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. They will also conduct scientific experiments and perform commercial activities aboard the ISS.
How to watch the Ax-1 ISS mission live
The Ax-1 mission will launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Axiom Space will start its own broadcast showing prelaunch activities, the launch, and then docking. This live stream will begin at 8:40 a.m. EDT (1240 GMT) at axiomspace.com and may also be featured on SpaceX's website.
NASA will also start a broadcast a little later at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT) on its YouTube channel, a little more than an hour before the scheduled launch time of 12:05 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT). This can also be viewed via the video player above.
The Ax-1 team's arrival at the ISS is scheduled for April 8 at approximately 2:45 a.m. EDT (0745 GMT). A separate live stream will take place for that event.
This will be the first space tourism trip to the ISS on a SpaceX rocket, though tourists have previously flown to the station on Russian Soyuz launch vehicles. SpaceX broke new ground by sending tourists to orbit on its Inspiration4 mission last year. That mission, however, orbited Earth and didn't dock with the ISS.