Dayton’s Larry Connor, rest of Ax-1 crew now aboard space station

Dayton businessman Larry Connor and the rest of the Axiom-1 crew successfully docked and were welcomed aboard the International Space Station Saturday morning.

They are the first private space crew to conduct such a mission.

The Dragon Endeavour launched from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday and will remain on the space station until April 18.

Connor said during a live-press stream’s welcoming ceremony how thrilled and honored he is to be there.

He added: “Thanks to SpaceX ‘s phenomenal ride. I mean, no pun intended, but out of this world.”

“Thanks to Axiom for making this dream come true. Thanks to NASA,” Connor said.” Thanks to all the crew, unbelievably welcome, and we’re here to experience this, but we understand there is a responsibility and the responsibility is for this first civilian crew to get it right, and that’s what we’re fully committed to with the support of everybody here at the ISS and on the ground. So it’s going to be a busy week of research for us, and I am sure it’s going to fly by.”

The team will conduct several experiments. Connor, 72, is partnering with both the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic on four experiments centered around the heart, the spine, the brain and aging.

Connor told our Tom Archdeacon during training for the mission: “A lot of people don’t realize we are designated by NASA as private astronauts,” Connor said. “And that is a huge difference as compared to a space tourist.

“A space tourist might do 10-15 hours of training and we’ve all done well over 1,000 hours. Plus, we’ve had to pass a lot of rigorous tests – both physical tests and also extensive tests of knowledge – to meet all the professional astronaut standards.”