First ‘space tourists’ to visit ISS are heading home after bad weather delayed return journey

Three wealthy investors spent 18 days in space, including two weeks on the International Space Station. They are: 

López-Alegría (left) will serve as the commander of the mission and Connor (right) as pilot

Larry Connor, 72, was the Ax-1 mission pilot for the trip.

Connor was born in 1950 in Albany, New York, and graduated from Ohio University in 1972.

The investor founded his first firm, the Orlando Computer Corp in 1982.

He then founded the Connor Group, a real estate investment firm, in 1992, which has grown to become a $3.5 billion business. 

Married to wife Christine since 1981, he has three children and leveraged his success with the Connor Group to found a children’s charity. 

Connor is no stranger to adventure, having explored the Challenger Deep and the Sirena Deep in the Mariana Trench, beneath the Pacific Ocean. 

While on the station, he carried out projects on behalf of the Mayo Clinic that could provide data on space travel’s impact on senescent cells. 

Mark Pathy

Stibbe (left) and Pathy (right) will work as mission specialists during the day-long trip to the ISS

Mark Pathy, 52, was a mission specialist on the Ax-1 flight.

Canadian born, he is a child of immigrants, his mother from the Netherlands and father born in Egypt to Hungarian parents.

He graduated with honours from the University of Toronto in 1993 and achieved a masters in 1998. 

Pathy is the president of Mavrik Corp, a privately-owned investment, and financing company based in Montréal.

Married to wife Jessica, Pathy has raised money for multiple good causes through the Pathy Family Foundation.

He is said to have spent most of his life avoiding the spotlight, saying during the announcement of his spaceflight: ‘If I could do this trip in anonymity I would’. 

The investor is also member of the board and Executive Committee of the Montréal Children’s Hospital Foundation, and supporter of climate change protection efforts.  

He worked with six Canadian universities, as well as two startups on ‘proof of concept’ ideas while in orbit.

This included the world’s first in-space demonstration of two-way holoportation — a mixed reality app for special lenses that receives two-way 3D projections as a hologram to communicate between users remotely. 

Eytan Stibbe

Stibbe (left) and Pathy (right) will work as mission specialists during the day-long trip to the ISS

Eytan Stibbe, 64, was a mission specialist for the Ax-1 mission.

Born in Haifa, Israel, he spent the first seven years of his life in the US before returning to Israel with his family.

He is a ‘social impact investor’, philanthropist and former Israeli Air Force fighter pilot.

Stibbe served from 1976 until 1984, but continued to serve as a reservist until 2012, obtaining the rank of Colonel.

The former fighter ace has been married to Ora Etrog Stibbe since 1985, a psychotherapist. They have three children – Amit, Shir and Yoav – and four grandchildren. 

Stibbe is the founding partner of Vital Capital impact investment fund, established in 2010 with the aim of improving the situations of underserved populations in developing countries.

He founded social benefit company Anatta with his wife, supporting social and education initiatives.

The philanthropist also sits on the board of the Ramon Foundation, started by Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and carried out experiments for them while in orbit.