Members of a private mission leave the International Space Station

(Washington) The first entirely private space mission to visit the International Space Station, involving three businessmen and a former NASA astronaut, left the flight laboratory, where they spent more than two weeks on their way to Earth.

Posted at 9:40 pm.

A SpaceX capsule undocked from the space station (ISS) at 9:10 p.m. US East Coast Time (1:10 p.m. GMT Monday) to begin the return journey. She is due to ditch off the coast of Florida on Monday at around 1 p.m. (5 p.m. GMT).

The four men – three clients who paid tens of millions of dollars, and former Spanish-American astronaut Michael López-Alegria – were originally scheduled to spend only eight days on the ISS.

But his departure had to be postponed several times due to bad weather.

American Larry Connor, head of a real estate company, Canadian Mark Pethe, boss of an investment company, and co-founder of an investment fund, ex-Israeli pilot Eyton Stibbe took off from Florida on April 8. , They reached the ISS the next day.

On board, he carried out a full range of experiments in partnership with research centers. These focused on aging or heart health. They were also able to try out a headset that records cognitive performance in weightlessness, according to the station’s logbook published on the NASA blog.

Canadian Mark Pethe also spent a lot of time in the famous observation dome of the ISS to photograph Earth.

The mission was baptized Ax-1, and it was the company Axiom Space that acted as a space travel agency: it bought the means of transportation from SpaceX, and paid NASA for the use of its station. ,

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NASA has already formally approved the principle for a second mission, X-2.

After the departure of the X-1, seven people will remain at the station: three Americans, one German and three Russians.

Monday will mark the fifth landing of the manned Dragon capsule. SpaceX now regularly flies NASA astronauts to the ISS.

Elon Musk’s company carried out another completely private mission last year, but it didn’t go to the space station, with the four passengers on board just three days into the capsule.

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