December 2, 2022

Private astronaut just back from space station describes interactions with Russian cosmonauts

3 min read

“We had a day when the toilet was closed for a few hours.” Larry ConnorThe pilot of Axiom Space’s AX-1 mission told CNN. “The Russians were very friendly, very sociable. We work there as a team and they said, ‘Hey, come on and use us.’

In addition to sharing toilets, the AX-1 crew also distributed two family-style meals to each person aboard the space station during their 15-day stay – three Russian astronauts, three NASA astronauts, and a German European astronaut. Space Agency.

Connor described the astronauts as “kind hosts” who invited the AX-1 crew to the Russian part of the space station for “the equivalent of juice cans and a little sweeter”. But Connor says the war in Ukraine has never started.

“My personal opinion is that I fully support Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, and their right to exist as an independent nation.” Connor said. “But as a private astronaut, being part of an international community where it is necessary for all our safety and well-being on the International Space Station, we must, in my view, respect that, and From a practical point of view, put these differences aside, even if they are intense, and become a cohesive entity. “

‘We were not on a tourist trip’

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft and four private astronauts launched from the Pad 39A on April 8, 2022 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Connor spent more than 1,000 hours training for the AX-1 research mission, which included complex medical experiments in microgravity from the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics.

“Basically, it was my full-time job for the eight months leading up to the mission,” Connor said. “We were not on a tourist trip. Hopefully we were on a serious mission with significant research and educational results.”

But despite full training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, Connor says it was a “humble experience” to conduct scientific experiments floating around without weight.

These are the four people who are launching SpaceX on the first ISS space tourism mission.

“If it weren’t for NASA’s Crew-3 astronauts and their extraordinary support, we would never, ever underestimate the word – succeed in achieving all of our goals,” Connor said. Connor said. “We underestimated the time on some projects. We had a project earlier which we thought was two and a half hours, five hours.”

In a race to complete more than two dozen experiments, Connor says the AX-1 crew had a “very aggressive schedule.”

“When we crossed the hatch, we went into a real sprint – 14 hours a day, basically from 7am to 8pm or 9pm for the first five or six days, and then it was a bit backwards. It’s gone in 12 hours, “said Connor. “It was tough and challenging.”

‘An extraordinary mission’

The AX-1 mission was organized by Houston-based startup Axiom Space, which is working to build the world’s first commercial space station. But Elon Musk’s SpaceX provided crew transport to and from the International Space Station.

Based in Connor, Ohio Real Estate Magnet Who paid an undisclosed amount to secure space on the AX-1 crew, which was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, along with Michael Lopez-Algeria, the former Axiom astronaut from the NASA astronaut. There were employees who commanded this mission. ; And two other paying customers: Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe; Canadian investor Mark Pethy
SpaceX has just begun paying ISS customers.  Here's everything you need to know.

“The launch was great, but the re-entry was even better. You’re coming down the hill and you’re free to fall and you can tell how fast you’re going, but it’s very controlled.” Connor said. “There’s some g-loading. You feel the rotation. It’s really exciting.”

Connor says he is “still returning to Earth” after his SpaceX crew dragon capsule crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday.

“It feels like the day after a big championship football game, in terms of pain and suffering,” says Connor.

When Connor asked his commander, who was a veteran of five space flights, about body aches, Connor says Michael Lopez-Algaria replied, “It’s gravity, man, get used to it.” ”

“I’m glad to be back on Earth,” Connor said. “But it was an extraordinary mission.”

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