Rich trio back on Earth after charter trip to ISS
6:00 JST, May 4, 2022
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Three rich businessmen returned from the International Space Station with their astronaut escort April 25, wrapping up a pricey trip that marked NASA’s debut as a B&B host.
Flying back in a SpaceX capsule, they splashed down in the Atlantic off the Florida coast to close out a 17-day tour that cost them $55 million apiece.
The trip was supposed to last a little over a week, but dicey weather kept the visitors in orbit almost twice as long as intended.
“Welcome back to planet Earth,” radioed SpaceX Mission Control from Southern California. “We hope you enjoyed the extra few days in space.”
“Amazing mission,” said real estate tycoon Larry Connor.
Before departing the space station on the night of April 24, the group thanked their seven hosts, including three NASA astronauts whose own mission is nearing an end.
It was the first time NASA opened its space hatches to tourists after shunning the practice perfected over the decades by Russia. Last fall, a Russian film crew flew up, followed by a Japanese fashion mogul and his assistant. In each case, an active-duty cosmonaut traveled with them.
The latest guests were accompanied by a former NASA astronaut now working for Axiom Space, the Houston company in charge of the flight, making it the first fully private trip to the space station.
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