‘It’s a dream come true’: Former NASA astronaut eager for another chance to fly in space

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — In less than 24 hours, the first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station is scheduled to launch from the Space Coast.

Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson knows a little something about the space station and how much work goes into this type of mission.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

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

“It takes a lot of training. Our guys have trained a lot to become astronauts and I think at times it’s a challenge for people to accept that it takes this much training,” Whitson said

Whitson, who is also slated to serve as commander for the upcoming Axiom Mission 2, said she is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something so historic.

Read: NASA Artemis mission on hold as testing delayed for second time

“It’s so exciting. Personally, for me, it’s a dream come true. When I retired from NASA I wasn’t sure if this commercial industry was going to take off as fast as it did and I’m so thrilled and I’m so excited I’m going back,” she said.

For now, Whitson will provide support to the Axiom’s current crew — Commander Michael Lopez Alegria, pilot Larry Connor, as well as mission specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy.

Read: NASA’s moon rocket test is scrubbed for Sunday

“Part of the thrill is being part of something new and this development of industry in low-Earth orbit, I think, will be a boon for the local Florida community as well,” Whitson said.

Once in orbit, all four astronauts will spend eight days docked with the ISS before finally returning home.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.