Dayton businessman looks to return to outer space


Larry Connor says the unexpected 17-day stretch in space because of weather delays turned out to be a blessing.

DAYTON, Ohio — Larry Connor says once he got his “land legs” on firm ground back on Earth, he had a hankering for comfort food.

“The next thing was a hamburger or a pizza,” Connor told 10TV’S Angela An. Connor and his three astronaut crewmates became the first all civilian crew to work onboard the International Space Station in April 2022.

Connor says the unexpected 17-day stretch in space because of weather delays turned out to be a blessing.

“We were so challenged by the breadth and depth of our experiments that basically we did nothing else except those for the first 10 days or so,” Connor says describing the dozens of medical and scientific experiments the crew took with them to the ISS.

FULL INTERVIEW: Larry Connor returns to Dayton after space trip

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He says it was nice to have two or three days to work at a more leisurely pace.

“We can take photographs, go to the cupola, and view out, do more a little bit more interaction with the various crews. We went over to the Russian side a couple of times. Yeah, it was. It was great to have the extra time,” he added.

During Axiom 1’s historic mission, Connor says the war in Ukraine did not come up in conversation with the Russian cosmonauts.

“I’m going to answer that in two ways. As a private citizen in the United States, I fully support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their struggle,” Connor explained. “But as an astronaut on the International Space Station, you have to for safety and habitability reasons, you have to interact with the Russians and they have to interact with us so whatever turmoil significant strife is happening on Earth, which is obviously very real, and very bad, we have got to operate as one team there and so that’s what everybody did.”

Connor says the one impact he underestimated about his journey was the power of educational outreach. The crew connected with students around the world for several STEM conversations.

“Not only here in Ohio, but across the country and then globally, we did stuff in Israel and Canada and other places. That was more impactful than I ever imagined. And I think that’s very, very good.”

Connor says one moment that took his breath away was realizing how quickly the ISS was traveling from California to the other coast.

“Five minutes later, five minutes later, we went over the top of New York City. You are going 18,000 miles an hour and you can cover a lot of distance,” he says.

Connor says while launching into space it was great, it was the splashdown on Earth that was the coolest.

“What they call the ride up or the ride down, so the last 10 minutes,” he said with a smile. “It is what they call ballistic and dynamic the reentry because they think about this way. You’re 100 miles above and literally five or six minutes later, you’re splashing down and you’re free falling out of the sky.”

“It doesn’t get much better.”

Connor also says he would go back under the right circumstances.

“I’m under an agreement not to discuss any of the specifics. But shall we say that that potential currently exists, but it’s only potential,” he said with a smile.

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