Meet the flight commander who is leading the first private orbital mission into space

Axiom Space-1 is targeted to launch on Feb 1, 2022
Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

Flight Commander, Michael Lopez Alegria, joined Audacy’s Stryker and Klein on KROQ today to discuss how he will be commanding SpaceX’s first fully private orbital mission to space and opens up about how he’s prepping for this historical flight.

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The Southern California native, Harvard graduate, and International Space Station commander says he isn’t nervous about taking private citizens up into space and shares, “it’s just about the training, I guarantee you by the time we fly nobody will be a dummy on board.”

He also jokes, “it’s my job to make sure there are no rich civilians that screw things up.” Alegria adds on a more serious note, “I really feel good about the training program we have set up, the crew is great. They’re very eager to get started with the training itself and it’s going to be all good.”

The former NASA astronaut tells us that the training program for civilians headed into space is about three months long and “two-thirds of that is going to be learning about the ISS systems, basically what you need to live and work aboard safely and productively. And the other third is crew Dragon, which is our transport vehicle to go to the ISS and back, which is a SpaceX produced rocket and capsule.”

Three civilians will take flight on the Axiom Space-1 alongside Alegria and his crew. In terms of the selection process to fly on the new SpaceX vehicle, anyone could apply, and Michael says that as long as the applicant was “morally, financially, and physically qualified,” an applicant can fly. The Axiom Space-1 craft will carry the first three people to ever apply who met all the criteria.

The Flight Commander explains, “we hope to be doing this about every six months with a different crew, taking applications anytime.”

The upcoming mission will last ten days, and on eight of those days, the crew will be docked to the ISS. “From lift-off to docking to the ISS is anywhere between 6 and 24 hours,” says Alegria. The return flight is around 6 to 36 hours from undocking to splashdown.

A ticket aboard the first fully private orbital space mission costs tens of millions of dollars explains Michael but adds, “our goal is to have that price come down because we want to democratize this experience so that more people… can fly to space and have that overview affect that all the astronauts talk about when they come back.”

Finally, Alegria tells us that he believes this new foray into space travel “will make the world a better place.”

As of now, the Axiom Space-1 is targeted to launch on February 1st, 2022.

WATCH MORE: Meet Ingenuity, the first helicopter to attempt powered flight on another planet


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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images