CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s next private flight to the International Space Station awaited takeoff Sunday, weather and rocket permitting.
Among the passengers are Saudi Arabia’s very first astronauts for decades and a Tennessee businessman with his sports car racing team. They’ll be led by a retired NASA astronaut who now works for the company that arranged the 10-day trip.
It’s the second charter flight organized by Houston-based Axiom Space. The company would not say how much the latest tickets cost; it previously cited per-seat prices of $55 million.
SpaceX’s Falcon rocket was already on its launch pad when it planned to lift off late Sunday from NASA Kennedy Space Center. This is the exact same place where Saudi Arabia’s first astronaut, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, flew in 1985.
Representing the Saudi Arabian government this time are Rayyanah Barnawi, a stem cell researcher set to become the kingdom’s first woman in space, and Royal Saudi Air Force fighter pilot Ali al-Qarni.
Rounding out the crew: John Shoffner, the racecar buff, and Peggy Whitson, who holds the U.S. record for most accumulated time in space at 665 days.
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