Three rich businessmen are back on Earth with their astronaut escort after a pricey trip to the International Space Station. SpaceX flew them back Monday, wrapping up a 17-day chartered flight that marked the first time NASA opened its space hatches to tourists.
The trip cost the trio $55 million apiece. Their stay was supposed to last a little over a week, but dicey weather kept the visitors in orbit almost twice as long as intended.
Houston-based Axiom Space handled the logistics for the trip for its three paying customers. The company plans a second flight early next year.
The flight was full of firsts. Commander Michael López-Alegría is the first person to ever command both civil and commercial human spaceflight missions. Also, Larry Connor is the first private pilot in spaceflight history to reach the ISS, and Eytan Stibbe is the first Israeli to visit the ISS.
In order to fly to the ISS, the passengers underwent more than 700 hours of training.
Axiom Space plans on building the first private space station.