Larry Connor has already gone through more than 1,000 hours of training to get a spacesuit at NASA.

Dayton, Ohio – The Dayton businessman and three other men will be the first civilian-funded civilian crew to visit the International Space Station on Friday.

“We were really focused on training. It’s like life at the moment, step by step, ”Larry Connor said before quarantining for this historic mission.

This week Connor, founder and managing partner of a real estate investment company Conar Grouphas already gone through more than 1,000 hours of training to earn a spacesuit NASA.

“We have a great responsibility to meet the professional standards of astronauts, so we need to remain calm and in control,” Connor said.

Keeping calm and in control will be crucial for Connor as the pilot of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which will transport this four-person crew into space as part of AxiomMission -1 to expand commercial near-Earth orbits. The crew is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Saturday morning at approximately 7:30 p.m. On board, all four newly trained astronauts will conduct 25 experiments for various studies.

The 72-year-old Connor is collaborating with both the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic on behalf of science. The study focuses on the heart, spine, brain and aging cells.

While aboard the ISS, Connor also plans to liaise with four schools in the Dayton area to inspire future generations to embark on a career in the space industry.

“My message to the children would be to aim high, not to give up,” Connor said enthusiastically. “Don’t let adults impose restrictions. You can do the impossible, but the first step is to believe in it, and what’s best abroad to go through, be a part of and explore is space. ”

It seems Conor may have already inspired some people in his family.

“If you talk to my 6-year-old granddaughter, she thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world,” Connor laughed. “Another three-year-old granddaughter thinks I’m a rocket man and we’re all going into space.”

The launch is scheduled for 11:17 a.m. ET. You can watch this here or by downloading the 10TV app.

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