From the ocean’s depths to Earth orbit, what’s next for Larry Connor?

Dayton businessman Larry Connor during an interview Friday from the International Space Station with Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News. Tom Archdeacon/STAFF

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Dayton businessman Larry Connor during an interview Friday from the International Space Station with Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News. Tom Archdeacon/STAFF

High-altitude skydiving, for starters

Local real estate investor Larry Connor has traveled from the deepest depths of the ocean to low-earth orbit in recent days. What could be next for him?

Quite a bit, actually.

At a post-mission press conference Friday on AxiomSpace’s recent first all-private commercial human space flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Connor — a longtime Dayton-area entrepreneur and managing partner in Miami Twp’s Connor Group — pulled back the curtain a bit on what’s next on his to-do list.

Launched April 8 to the ISS station, Connor was a member of a five-person crew that spent 17 days in space. Together, the team performed more than 25 experiments, over 100 hours of research, with 30 outreach events to students and other audiences worldwide.

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Friday’s press conference in Houston, which was viewable online, marked the first public comments by the crew gathered together after the mission.

“Frankly, it would be extremely difficult to top the experience,” Connor said Friday. “But we have a couple of ideas that we’re thinking about, one of them in concert with Axiom, something I can’t really talk about now.”

He added that he is planning to travel to U.S. Army base Fort Bragg in North Carolina next week to work on what he called a “high altitude skydive from 30,000 feet sometime this summer, with actually some research embedded in that.”

“For some reason, there haven’t been, shall we say, a little bit older people who have done that,” Connor said, referring to plans for the high-altitude skydive. “And so I’m apparently a good candidate to do that.”

He added, “For me though, it’s about each opportunity and trying to do a good job and trying to do it professionally, kind of focusing on the moment and on the process. I just couldn’t more thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with this crew of super-talented, committed people.”

“Thank you, Larry,” the press conference moderator said. “I would expect nothing less.”

When he’s not investing in apartment complexes nationwide, Connor has been known to fly as a private pilot and drive in off-road and circuit racing.

After the mission, Connor told CNN that the AX-1 crew shared two “family-style” dinners with those on the space station, a group that included three Russian cosmonauts, three NASA astronauts and a German astronaut with the European Space Agency.

In all, Connor spent more than 1000 hours training for the AX-1 research mission, which focused on medical experiments in microgravity on behalf of the Mayo and Cleveland Clinic.

“Basically, it was my full-time job for eight months leading up to the mission,” Connor said on CNN. “We were not on a tourist trip. We were on a serious mission with, hopefully, important research and educational outcomes.”

Connor launched the Connor Group in 1992, a company focused on finding apartment properties nationwide that firm leaders believe are poised for future appreciation and ripe for investment.

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