Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe started reciting the poem Ithaca by well-known Greek poet Konstantin Kavafy moments before launching into space on thefirst private mission that took off from the International Space Station on Friday writing history in space exploration.
On board, the Axiom Space shuttle, Stibbe, one of four astronauts, opened by saying:
“A few minutes before launching for this journey, I wish to share with you a few words from the Greek poet Konstantin Kavafis”, he wrote in his message and quoted some verses from “Ithaca”.
According to the Times of Israel, Businessmen Stibbe, American Larry Connor of Ohio and Canadian Mark Pathy have paid $55 million apiece for the rocket ride.
'The visitors’ tickets include access to all but the Russian portion of the space station — they’ll need permission from the three cosmonauts on board. Three Americans and a German also live up there.
'Stibbe, a former fighter pilot and the second-ever Israeli to go to space, is carrying some 35 experiments for companies and research institutions on the privately funded Rakia Mission to the orbiting lab.
'Before entering the SpaceX Dragon capsule, his enthusiasm was obvious — he did a little dance when he arrived at the rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.'
Source: C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1975)