Businessman Eyan Stibbe on Sunday became the second Israeli to go to space and the first Israeli astronaut to board the International Space Station, after the SpaceX module carrying him and three others successfully docked with the station.

The 64-year old former Israel Air Force fighter pilot is a mission specialist for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. The mission is an initiative of Houston-based company Axiom Space, which seeks to create the first private space station.

Stibbe and his crewmates, mission commander Michael López-Alegría, pilot Larry Connor and mission specialist Mark Pathy, lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

The team is scheduled to spend 10 days in orbit, during which time Stibbe is to complete 35 experiments.

Stibbe’s list of experiments was finalized by the Ramon Foundation, the Israel Space Agency and the Israeli Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.

Israel’s first astronaut, former fighter jet pilot Ilan Ramon, was killed in 2003 when the NASA Space shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry, killing all seven crew members.


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