CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — John Shoffner is a pilot in Axiom's space mission to the International Space Station.
Axiom is a privately-owned company. In 2022, Axiom's first mission, Ax-1, was the first-ever private mission to the ISS. His team is the second privately funded mission to the ISS.
During their time on the orbiting laboratory, the crew will conduct over 20 science and technology experiments in areas such as human physiology, physical sciences and STEAM to help expand knowledge to benefit life on Earth.
Raised in southeast Kentucky, he lived in Knoxville most of his life. This is his first time going to space and it's fulfilling a dream he's had since he was 8 years old. While growing up in Kentucky, he formed a space club with his friends.
"I've been preparing my whole life, you know, without realizing it, because I've had an astronaut in me since I was 8 years old," Shoffner said. "So I've always loved space. So... the thought of being an astronaut is really awesome."
Half of Shoffner's mission is dedicated to STEM education outreach. He said he is going to record videos to show children what it's like to live in space compared to living on Earth.
He also said that he hopes this trip to space is just the start of private individuals traveling to space.