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A private astronaut explains why his next flight - likely with Tom Cruise - is 'setting the bar for commercial human spaceflight forever'

A private astronaut explains why his next flight - likely with Tom Cruise - is 'setting the bar for commercial human spaceflight forever'

Michael LA?pez-AlegrA­a, a former NASA astronaut, may be the first private space mission commander.
NASA




Space tourists have been flying to orbit since a millionaire made the first such flight in 2001.




Now, startup Axiom Space has chartered the first all-private orbital mission, called Ax-1, which may launch as early as October 2021.




Flight commander Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut, will be joined by three private passengers, likely including Tom Cruise and film director Doug Liman.




"It's important to me for our crew to be respected," López-Alegría told Insider. "I don't want to give anybody any excuses to not like us."




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


This year, a private company may charter a private spaceship, fill it up with private passengers, and fly it to orbit in the hands of a private astronaut.The expedition is poised to be the first of its kind, and the gravity of that responsibility is not lost upon its commander, Michael LA?pez-AlegrA­a, a retired NASA astronaut-turned-VP of business development for Axiom Space, which is bankrolling the historic flight."I really want this crew - who's setting the bar for commercial human spaceflight forever, if you really think about it - to be as good as we possibly can," LA?pez-AlegrA­a recently told Insider in a wide-ranging interview.Called Ax-1, the mission could launch as soon as October in a Crew Dragon spaceship atop a Falcon 9 rocket, both built by SpaceX, the Elon Musk-founded aerospace company.
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