Correction: A prior edition of this story listed the incorrect day for Connor’s homecoming. The correct day is Wednesday. This error has been corrected.
DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ax-1 pilot and Dayton businessman Larry Connor was welcomed home Wednesday after successfully completing the first fully private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.
On Monday, April 25, Connor successfully landed just off the coast of Florida at 1:05 pm, completing a 17-day mission in space, a release by the Larry Connor Group says. During this mission, Connor worked with the former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría (commander of Ax-1) and mission specialists Eytan Stibbe of Israel, and Mark Pathy of Canada.
But Connor says that the work he completed in space was a collaborative effort and could not have been done without support on the ground, the release said.
“At the end of the day, it’s not really about us when we’re up there. It’s about everyone else who made that happen. Was it not for you all, there’s no way I could have done this,” Connor said. “Whether it’s SpaceX, Axiom… you don’t go up there by yourself. You go up with a whole family. So, thank you very much.”
During his mission, Connor spoke with school children on live broadcasts, the release said. He also partnered with renowned medical experts at the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics to run four different experiments that studied the heart, brain, spine and aging.
According to the release, Connor is now the first person to reach both space and the deepest parts of the ocean within one year. He spent over 1,000 hours in training for this mission to space.
“I feel like our training prepared us for the logistics of space travel and the research for which we were responsible. And I feel like some of my previous endeavors prepared me for some of the unknowns that come with space travel. But I don’t think there’s anything that can truly prepare humans for the sights and feelings that come with circling the globe every 90 minutes,” Connor said. “This was a humbling experience. I hope we’ve played a role – however small – in allowing future generations to have similar experiences.”
After over two weeks spent on the International Space Station, Connor finally returned to his home in the Miami Valley. The release said that approximately 100 associates, friends and family gathered outside The Connor Group real-estate investment firm in Dayton to welcome the founder home.