Private Ax-2 astronaut releasing free educational videos filmed in space today

Kids (and kids at heart) can ride along with a recent mission to the space station with a new educational series debuting Monday (Aug. 28) featuring two private astronauts.

"Habitat Space" is an educational series featuring Ax-2 private astronaut John Shoffner, a rookie learning about the International Space Station in May 2023 with his record-breaking commander Peggy Whitson, formerly an astronaut with NASA.

The series makes its online debut at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT on Tuesday, Aug. 29) and you can register for free on Eventbrite. The event will be followed by a live question-and-answer period with Shoffner and Whitson, who flew the mission with Axiom Space.

Shoffner will also make the videos available with his foundation, the Perseid Foundation, on Tuesday (Aug. 29). Details will be made available on that day.

Related: Private space station: How Axiom Space plans to build its orbital outpost

Private astronaut John Shoffner, of the Ax-2 mission with Axiom Space, gives a thumbs-up to the camera on the International Space Station in May 2023. (Image credit: Perseid Foundation/Axiom Space/John Shoffner)

Shoffner is part of a small, but quickly growing, set of private astronauts joining ISS missions. Axiom Space has run two such missions to the orbiting complex so far as the company works to build out an eventual private space station of its own. Per agency rules, all private missions must be commanded by a former NASA astronaut.

"Just wait till you get up here and try it for yourself," Shoffner says in each of the videos of the series, encouraging students to seek their own space and astronaut dreams. 

Aside from the pure joy of seeing astronauts having fun in orbit, the series will include educational materials to encourage learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Students will learn about amateur radio in space, the recycling system on the ISS that safely turns urine into drinkable water, the space toilets on board, science on the orbiting complex and physics concepts.

The series will remain free for students and teachers around the world after its release.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: