Four private citizens are set to launching into orbit on the first wholly private mission to the International Space Station.

Flight, organized by the Houston-based company Axiom Space

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This mission know as Ax-1, won’t be the first time an all-civilian crew has flown to space.

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The upcoming launch follows a pair of high-profile trips to suborbital space last year by billionaire entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos.

What sets Axiom’s flight apart from previous trips with private citizens to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station is that it won’t just be a single paying customer accompanied by a group of professional astronauts, said Derek Hassman, Axiom Space’s operations director.

“In the case of the Ax-1 mission, it’s very different in that the entire crew [is] unaffiliated with any government,” Hassman said Thursday in a preflight news briefing.

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Kunal Kashyap, Backdroid.com

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