Skip to main content

Bad weather nixes Ax-1 mission's planned Tuesday departure from ISS

The four private astronauts of the Axiom Space Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station wave to students at Space Center Houston during a video call on April 13, 2022. They are (from left): Ax-1 pilot Larry Connor; commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría; Canadian entrepreneur Mark Pathy; and Israeli entrepeneur Eytan Stibbe.
The four private astronauts of the Axiom Space Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station wave to students at Space Center Houston during a video call on April 13, 2022. They are (from left): Ax-1 pilot Larry Connor; commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría; Canadian entrepreneur Mark Pathy; and Israeli entrepeneur Eytan Stibbe. (Image credit: Axiom Space)

The first-ever fully private crewed mission to the International Space Station will get to spend a bit of extra time aboard the orbiting lab.

The four astronauts of Ax-1, a mission organized by Houston company Axiom Space, had been scheduled to depart the station in their SpaceX Dragon capsule at 10:35 a.m. EDT (1435 GMT) on Tuesday (April 19) and splash down off the coast of Florida early Wednesday morning (April 20).

But expected bad weather in the splashdown zone initially pushed the departure back to Tuesday night (opens in new tab) and has now imposed a further, indefinite delay.  

"Due to unfavorable weather conditions, we are waving off tonight's undocking of the #Ax1 mission from @Space_Station. The integrated Axiom Space, @NASA and @SpaceX teams are assessing the next best opportunity for the return of Ax-1, the first all-private mission to the ISS," Axiom Space said via Twitter (opens in new tab) on Tuesday afternoon.

SpaceX Ax-1 private mission to space station: Live updates

Ax-1 launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on April 8 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The mission is commanded Axiom employee and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría. 

The other three crewmembers are Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe, each of whom reportedly paid about $55 million for his seat.

Ax-1 will be just the beginning for Axiom Space, if all goes according to plan. The company has booked several other crewed missions to the space station with SpaceX. And, beginning in late 2024, Axiom plans to launch several modules to the ISS. These modules will eventually detach, becoming an independent private space station in Earth orbit.

Ax-1 will be coming down at a busy time for SpaceX. Elon Musk's company is gearing up to launch a big batch of its Starlink internet satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is next door to KSC, on Thursday (April 21).

And on Saturday (April 23), SpaceX plans to launch the Crew-4 mission for NASA from KSC. Crew-4 will send three NASA astronauts and a European spaceflyer to the ISS for a lengthy stay.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m. EDT on April 19 with information about the departure and splashdown webcasts, then again at 3:45 p.m. EDT on April 19 with news of the latest weather delay.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).  

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.