55 Million per Passenger
The trip was brokered by the Houston, Texas-based startup Axiom Space, which seeks to book rocket rides, provide all the necessary training, and coordinate flights to the ISS for anyone who can afford it. It’s all in line with the US government’s and the private sector’s goal to boost commercial activity on the ISS and beyond.
On board this mission, called AX-1, are Michael Lopez-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.
Food alone costs $2,000 per day, per person, in space. Getting provisions to and from the space station for a commercial crew is another $88,000 to $164,000 per person, per day. For each mission, bringing on the necessary support from NASA astronauts will cost commercial customers another $5.2 million, and all the mission support and planning that NASA lends is another $4.8 million.
The mission is the first to go to the space station on which all of the passengers are private citizens, and it is the first time that NASA has collaborated in arranging a space tourism visit. The flight marked a pivotal moment in efforts to spur space travel by commercial enterprises, NASA officials said.
“This is a really, really big milestone for us in our overall campaign to try to help foster a commercial low-Earth-orbit economy,” Dana Weigel, the deputy program manager for the space station at NASA, said during a news conference after the launch.
But the mission also highlighted that most of the customers for trips to orbit will be the very wealthy in the near-term. Axiom Space of Houston acted as the tour operator, selling seats for the 10-day trip, including eight days aboard the station, for $55 million each. Axiom hired SpaceX to provide the transportation — a Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon capsule, the same system that takes NASA astronauts to and from the station.