First all-private astronaut mission to ISS set to liftoff from Kennedy Space Center this week

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Pre-launch activities are underway for the first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.

Liftoff for Axiom Mission One is planned as soon as Friday morning at the Kennedy Space Center.

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The four astronauts taking the historic flight had a dress rehearsal Wednesday morning, followed by a static fire test of a Falcon 9 at pad 39A.

The crew is expected to spend eight days docked at the space station conducting more than two dozen experiments.

READ: Dress rehearsal: NASA moon rocket’s last test before launch

Commander and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria is leading the private mission, which is set to be one of many.

“This is really exciting because this is the beginning now of fully commercial utilization of the space station,” said Dr. Ken Kremer, with Space UpClose.

Lopez-Alegria, pilot Larry Connor, and mission specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy will spend their days in space docked at the station performing dozens of experiments.

READ: Orlando-area couple launches into space on Blue Origin flight

Officials said their first-of-a-kind mission is an important step toward Axiom’s goal of constructing a private space station in low-earth orbit.

NASA currently plans to operate the space station until 2030.

WATCH: SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket from Space Coast

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.