Eitan Stibbe

Israeli astronaut awaits launch for 10-day stay at International Space Station

Stibbe is slated to take off from Cape Canaveral in a SpaceX spaceship dubbed 'Dragon 2' for a mission on the International Space Station; 'For me what is important is not my personal journey, but the mission itself,' he says

Ran Rimon |
Updated: 04.05.22, 21:39
Barring any further delays, this coming Friday will see Israel's second-ever astronaut Eytan Stibbe take off to the International Space Station.
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  • Stibbe is slated to take off from Cape Canaveral on April 8, at around 18:17 pm IST, in a SpaceX spaceship named "Dragon 2" for a 10-day mission at the ISS. The mission itself was delayed several times already, once due to COVID and once due to harsh weather conditions.
    2 View gallery
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    Eitan Stibbe
    (Photo: Axiom Space & SpaceX)
    Speaking in a press conference, Stibbe -- who is currently in isolation ahead of the launch -- said he made good use of the time in isolation to 'go over everything,' and prepare.
    “We have the opportunity to ask questions and go through processes and see what we do not understand,” Stibbe said, adding that in case of another delay, the next launch will most likely take place next Tuesday, or early May at the latest.
    "For me what is important in the whole event is not my personal journey but the mission itself,” said the astronaut, who explained he paid to take part in SpaceX’s upcoming space flight due to the mission being privately funded.
    "I cover the costs [of my flight], but so many people have joined the mission that my excitement is through the roof."
    “We are the first private crew to be trained and adapted for a full journey, for a mission in the space station, and also to make full use of the space lab. Full training,” Stibbe added.
    2 View gallery
    איתן סטיבה ובתו שיר, לפני הכניסה לבידוד
    איתן סטיבה ובתו שיר, לפני הכניסה לבידוד
    Eytan and Dr. Shir Stibbe
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    Israel's second astronaut spoke of his friend Ilan Ramon who was the first Israeli on a space mission, and who died when the Space Shuttle Columbia crashed upon its return to earth.
    Among the personal effects stibbe will carry with him into space, is a page from Ramon's journal, which survived the crash.
    Two of Ramon's children are in the United States to witness the launch and await Stibbe's return along with his family. Noa, his third child chose to remain in Israel.
    Stibbe compared his upcoming space launch to flying a fighter jet, his job in the Israeli Airforce.
    "Its like getting a kick up your ass, but from the launch, everything is run remotely. After eight minutes another engine ignites and we are on course to our destination," he said.
    After years as a successful but media shy business man, Stibbe says he has had to learn to live in public view.
    "I asked the former head of NASA what I should do and he told me to learn how to tell a story because that is what I will have to do for the rest of my life," Stibbe said.
    The press conference was also attended by Dr. Shir Stibbe, the astronaut's daughter, who will replace him in case he cannot make the journey.
    "I'm happy to be a part of this thing - something that is so big for me," she said.
    "This is a rare opportunity to work alongside my father. I am a doctor and what I do is meaningful but accompanying something like this - is a tremendous opportunity involving space, and allows me to return to a primal and naive place,” she said.
    Former Astronaut Garrett Reisman, a close friend of Stibbe and an employees of SpaceX, also attended the presser.
    "I know [Eytan] will fly superbly. this aircraft is far safer than what I flew on... I'm very optimistic," he said.
    First published: 21:06, 04.05.22
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