- Mark Pathy has ridden in more than a few vehicles.
- Years ago, he rode to the Laconia motorcycle rally in New Hampshire, and he also traveled to Chicago with his brother to learn how to race Kawasaki Ninjas.
Following a disastrous three-year war, he drove a recreational vehicle across the former Yugoslavia, camping in communities with few supplies or tourist trappings.
The 52-year-old Montreal entrepreneur is now preparing to be a test subject for pain experiments as part of the 1st privately crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
Pathy and three others will embark on a 10-day journey aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft manufactured by Elon Musk’s SpaceX on the maiden voyage like Texas-based Axiom Space in February. And he is willing to pay more than $50 million for the privilege.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid also watched Captain Kirk hopping around the universe into the Enterprise,” said Pathy, the CEO of the boutique investment firm Mavrik Corp.
Last month, fellow Montrealer William Shatner, who played Kirk on “Star Trek,” was one of 4 passengers to blast off on a ship established by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin for a 10-minute trip into space. The actor’s journey tapped into a growing demand for suborbital tourism, which companies like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are also capitalizing on. Pathy, on the other hand, finds those up-and-down excursions too brief.
Pathy, a former co-CEO of his grandfather’s Montreal-based shipping company Fednav, believes his upcoming journey will be a significant step forward for commercial spaceflight, even if another Quebecer, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté, batter him to the launchpad when he became the first private citizen from Canada to reach orbit in 2009.
Ax-1, Pathy will take part in a dozen research projects onboard during the February mission, many of which will involve registering pain levels associated with bodily changes during weightlessness.
NASA has increasingly relied on the private sector over the last decade to deliver supplies, experiments, and astronauts to the moon and the International Space Station. Pathy believes that entirely personal missions provide an opportunity to relieve pressure on overburdened government agencies while also spotlighting Canadian technology such as the Astroskin.
“A lot of the research that I’m taking with me, which is mostly Canadian, would probably have to wait for a for a long time to get the opportunity to be tested in space,” he said, noting that the projects are a collaboration between a half-dozen Canadian universities.