Date set for Dayton Businessman’s historic mission to the ISS

Ohio businessman and real estate entrepreneur Larry Connor will pilot the very first fully civilian private space mission to the ISS in February.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – If 2020 was the year of COVID-19, then 2021 is the modern version of “the great space race.”

In July, the world saw billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos soar to the edge of space.

In September, four space tourists were the first to circle Earth for three full days as part of SpaceX’s Inspiration4.

But on February 21, 2022, Larry Connor, businessman and real estate entrepreneur from Ohio, pilot the very first fully civilian private space mission to the International Space Station.

“I wasn’t interested in being a space tourist,” Connor told 10TV’s Angela An from her real estate company headquarters. The Connor Group based in Dayton.

“There is a lot of work to do on the International Space Station,” he adds. “That’s why we’ve partnered with the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic to deliver truly revolutionary experiences. “

Connor is in the middle of an intense 5½ month training program with Axiom Space which will eventually turn him into an astronaut.

He will be part of a four-man multinational crew on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft when Axiom-1 rockets into space from Cape Canaveral early next year.

“It’s great that not only me, but the other three crew members have all volunteered for the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo to be basically human guinea pigs and all the experiments they want to do before the flight, during the flight or after the flight, “he said.

Connor’s generous nature speaks to his philanthropic fund and his company motto “do the right thing”. He founded the Connor Children’s Academy in Dayton where mentors guide the children during 3 days of sports camp.

Last year, Connor made $ 1.6 million on the stock market at the onset of the volatility of the coronavirus and returned it to its employees.

While aboard the ISS, Connor plans to run STEM classes with students from the Dayton Early College Academy (THIS SIDE).

“This is a real opportunity for me to interact with children who are in elementary school, middle school or high school, and I hope to generate some interest in some of them to maybe pursue a career. in the space industry, ”Connor said with a smile.

Connor, who built his business 30 years ago into an asset-rich, $ 3.3 billion multi-state real estate company, believes that with success comes an obligation to give back and share the wealth.

“We have chosen underserved children in the communities where we operate and strive to help them be the best they can be by their own definition, not someone else’s,” he says. “If you give these kids a level playing field, tools and opportunities, they could be on par or better than anyone. “

Connor argues that he’s just an average guy from Ohio who has had the chance and the opportunity to do some pretty interesting and amazing things, but it’s not something others can’t. to do.

And there’s not much that Larry Connor can’t do. In April 2021, he made three dives in five days to the deepest oceans of the Mariana Trench.

Connor is an experienced pilot trained to fly 15 different types of aircraft. He races cars.

He climbed Mount Rainier in Washington and Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest autonomous mountain in Tanzania, Africa.

But Connor says he doesn’t think of himself as an adventurer and never sought to become an astronaut as a child.

“I would describe it as willing to step out of my comfort zone,” he says. “Although I’m not sure I can achieve anything, at least try.”

For someone who enjoys learning new things, challenging themselves and trying new adventures, Connor says he spent 7 years researching all aspects of the space mission when Axiom Space first announced this opportunity. .

“I hope we are pioneers in this regard to help advance space exploration,” he said. “Every time you start something it’s going to be really, really expensive,” Connor said, referring to some of the criticisms behind the cost of each seat on this historic flight.

“Ask Elon Musk to launch Tesla or SpaceX. I think you can argue in these cases that the investment has really paid off, not just for Americans but for people all over the world. “

If Larry Connor’s mission is to make a difference in this world – and beyond – then mission over.

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