Updated: Apr 8, 2022
Axiom sends former Chief NASA Astronaut and three private astronauts onboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon
Axiom Space; a Houston based aerospace firm, is expected to launch four people into space with SpaceX aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavor "C206" spacecraft on it's 3rd visit to the International Space Station, with a scheduled launch time of no earlier than Friday, April 8, 2022, at 15:17 UTC, Blasts-off from Kennedy Space Center Pad LC-39A in Florida. The carrier rocket will be Falcon 9 v1.2 FT Booster B1062.5 assigned for the mission "Ax-1" The weather is supporting 90% in favour of Launch Criteria.
The first stage B1062.5 is expected to land on the autopilot Drone-ship; A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed 500 km downrange from Cape Canaveral, deployed with support ships Doug (ASDS tug) and Spacecraft and Crew Recovery fleet; Shannon (previously Go Navigator) and Megan (previously Go Searcher) deployed at the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean recovery zones, off the coast of Florida.
The multinational crew of four consists of Commander Michael López-Alegría from the US/Spain, Pilot Larry Connor from the US, Mission Specialists; Eytan Stibbe from Israel and Mark Pathy from Canada. The quartet will be the first fully private crew to visit the International Space Station; previous private astronauts have flown as one or two individuals accompanied by government astronauts conducting a routine mission. Axiom has chosen, for each planned flight it organizes, to be led by a retired/former astronaut to increase comfort with the arrangement.
How much each passenger paid for the experience is not public knowledge. “We usually don't talk about the specific payments our customers make,” Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said during the press conference.
To prepare for the 10-day mission, including ascent/descent eight aboard the ISS, each crew member completed training in safety, health, ISS systems, launch site operations, emergency protocols, and additional training for research and demonstration payloads. While on the station, Ax-1 astronauts will complete more than 25 science experiments and technology demonstrations. The Ax-1 mission is a groundbreaking mission for the Axiom Station of Axiom Space, the world's first upcoming commercial space station.
Ax-1 visit to Orbiting Laboratory
“This historic flight will mark a defining moment on the road to universal access to space. This will be just the first of many missions to the ISS from Axiom Space. The seat acquisition marks significant progress towards our goal, and we are pleased to partner with SpaceX in that direction” said Axiom Chief Executive Michael Suffredini, former head of the ISS program at NASA.