On April 8, 2022, SpaceX and the private spaceflight company Axiom Space will make history with the launch of Ax-1, the first all-private mission to the International Space Station.
Ax-1 will send four private space travelers on a 10-day trip to the station to conduct science and push commercial spaceflight forward. They will fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket. Its crew includes former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría and paying passengers Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe. See our full coverage of the Ax-1 mission below.
Ax-1 mission clears flight readiness review
NASA, SpaceX and Axiom Space have completed a day-long flight readiness review meeting today, March 25, for the planned Axiom Mission (Ax-1) to the International Space Station set to launch no earlier than April 3, 2022.
The mission, which will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, will carry four private astronauts to the space station for the first time. It is the first all-private mission to the station in its over 20-year history.
Ax-1 will launch former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría and paying passengers Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe. López-Alegría will command the flight. The space travelers will spend 10 days in space and plan to perform a series of science experiments and studies on the space station while also enjoying the commercial spaceflight experience.
"During the 10-day mission, the crew will spend eight days on the International Space Station conducting scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities," NASA officials said in a statement.
NASA will hold a press teleconference tonight at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) to discuss plans for the Ax-1 mission. You can listen in on the mission live here.
Speaking during tonight's press conference will be:
- Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate
- Dana Weigel, deputy manager, NASA’s International Space Station Program
- Angela Hart, program manager, NASA’s Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Program
- Michael Suffredini, president and CEO, Axiom Space
- Derek Hassmann, operations director, Axiom Space
- William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
Ax-1 launch depends on Artemis 1 fueling test
In a press conference this evening, NASA officials said Axiom Space's private Ax-1 space mission is ready to launch to the International Space Station as early as April 3 at 1:13 p.m. EDT (1713 GMT), but only if NASA completes a critical fueling test of its new Space Launch System megarocket.
The Ax-1 mission, which will launch four private spaceflyers to the station on a 10-day trip, eight of them on the ISS, on a SpaceX rocket. SpaceX uses Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA's Artemis 1 Space Launch System megarocket is standing atop the nearby Pad39B for a vital "wet dress rehearsal" which is scheduled for April 1 to April 3.
It is possible that NASA will complete the Artemis 1 fueling test early enough on April 3 for Ax-1 to fly. If not, the private mission's launch window extends through at least April 7, NASA said.
Ax-1 mission launch delayed to April 6
NASA, SpaceX and Axiom space have delayed the launch of the Ax-1 mission to no earlier than April 6 due to a conflict with the space agency's Artemis 1 moon rocket fueling test this weekend.
SpaceX initially planned to launch the Ax-1 mission on April 3, Sunday, from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. NASA, however, must complete its first fueling test of its Artemis 1 moon rocket by the same day at the nearby Pad 39B, prompting the agency to take priority. NASA's fueling test, called a wet dress rehearsal, will begin on April 1 and end on April 3.
The Ax-1 mission, which will launch former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría and paying paying passengers Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe to the station, will now lift off at 12:05 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT) on Wednesday, April 6. The private astronauts will spend 11 days in space, eight of them on the space station, performing experiments, sampling a gourmet menu cooked up by celebrity chef José Andrés and enjoying their spaceflight experience.
Ax-1 crew conference Friday!
This Friday (April 1), the astronauts launching with Axiom's Ax-1 mission as well as company representatives will be participating in a live crew press conference, which you can watch live here at Space.com or directly at axiomspace.com.
All four astronauts who are set to fly on Ax-1 will be participating in this conference. This includes:
In the conference, you will also hear from Axiom leaders:
Ax-1 launch delays to Friday!
SpaceX will now launch Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station Friday (April 8) after a delay with NASA's Artemis 1 wet dress rehearsal.
The launch, previously set for April 6, will send former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría alongside three paying passengers on a 10-day journey to space which will include an 8-day stay aboard the space station. The crew will launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
The launch will now take place Friday at 11:17 a.m. EDT (1517 GMT) from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Read more: here
Static fire: complete!
SpaceX has completed the static fire test, a critical pre-launch test, with its Falcon 9 rocket ahead of the upcoming launch Friday (April 8), the company said via Twitter.
Friday, SpaceX will launch a crew of spaceflyers on a private mission to the International Space Station for Texas-based aerospace company Axiom Space. The crew will launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete – targeting Friday, April 8 at 11:17 a.m. ET for launch of @Axiom_Space’s Ax-1 mission; weather forecast is currently 80% favorable for liftoff and teams are monitoring conditions along the ascent corridorApril 6, 2022
A static fire test is a crucial test ahead of a launch and, during this test, a rocket will be fired up while stationary at the launch pad. This ensures the functionality of the rocket's engines ahead of liftoff.
The SpaceX update also states that Friday's launch should have good weather. The "weather forecast is currently 80% favorable for liftoff and teams are monitoring conditions along the ascent corridor," the tweet reads.
Astronaut launch preparations
Former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría shared this photo of himself early in the morning on April 6, 2022. The astronaut, two days away from launching back to space on April 8, and the other three members of the Ax-1 mission crew were "up bright and early for Dry Dress at LC-39," he wrote on Twitter.
L -2 🚀Up bright and early for Dry Dress at LC-39. pic.twitter.com/UpifuOXgIeApril 6, 2022
López-Alegría and three paying passengers are set to launch Friday (April 8) on a 10-day trip to the International Space Station. The mission, a private mission with Texas-based aerospace company Axiom Space, will see the crew of four launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
The "Dry Dress," López-Alegría mentions in this tweet refers to dress rehearsal procedures that the crew goes through ahead of launch to essentially practice what they will do on launch day.
Looking good for launch
All systems for Axiom Space's Friday (April 8) launch are "looking good," SpaceX said in a tweet today (April 7).
The company will launch the crewed Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket, which are stacked and ready on Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"All systems are looking good for tomorrow’s Falcon 9 launch of the @Axiom_Space Ax-1 mission to the @space_station; teams are keeping an eye on downrange weather along the ascent corridor," SpaceX said in a post on Twitter this morning.
All systems are looking good for tomorrow’s Falcon 9 launch of the @Axiom_Space Ax-1 mission to the @space_station; teams are keeping an eye on downrange weather along the ascent corridor. Webcast will go live at ~7:55 a.m. ET → https://t.co/N3MHSxCS0k pic.twitter.com/Tb76kDRQRzApril 7, 2022
The post also noted that tomorrow, on launch day, the live webcast of the launch will begin at 7:55 a.m. EDT (1155 GMT), a few hours ahead of the planned 11:17 a.m. EDT (1517 GMT) launch time.
Pre-launch news conference
Ahead of tomorrow's (April 8) launch that will see Ax-1, Axiom Space's first crewed mission, launch the first fully-private mission to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket, mission team members will be discussing final launch preparations today no earlier than 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).
You can watch the news conference live at axiomspace.com.
The live pre-launch news conference will take place about one hour after the mission's Launch Readiness Review and will discuss the results of the review as we are now less than 24 hours to launch, which is set for Friday (April 8) at 11:17 a.m. EDT (1517 GMT).
In today's news conference, the speakers include:
Watch now! Just over 3 hours to launch!
SpaceX will launch the first private mission to the International Space Station today at 11:17 a.m. Houston company Axiom Space, which is managing the flight, has started its broadcast of launch preparations. Tune in here!
Next up, the astronauts will head out to the launch pad. We'll keep you posted here throughout the day.
At the pad!
The crew of Ax-1 has arrived at the launch pad with a little under three hours before launch.
Preparing to ingress
The Ax-1 crew are preparing to enter their Dragon capsule.
All four Ax-1 astronauts have entered their Dragon capsule, Endeavour. Above their heads, two stickers are visible, marking the previous flights Endeavour has made: the Demo-2 and Crew-2 missions for NASA to the International Space Station.
Rocket with a view
Ready to fly
SpaceX and Axiom Space personnel are about to begin communications checks with the four crew members of the Ax-1 mission aboard their capsule, Endeavour.
"Godspeed, fellas, let's go have some fun"
SpaceX and Axiom Space personnel continue checking in with each other with liftoff under 2.5 hours away. "Godspeed, fellas, let's go have some fun," one member of ground support told the astronauts.
The seats holding the four astronauts of the Ax-1 mission have rotated into their flight position and the crewmembers are checking to ensure their suits are not leaking.
T-1 hour to launch!
The Ax-1 mission has reached just under an hour before launch. SpaceX and Axiom Space personnel confirm that all is well with the spacecraft and weather looks good for launch.
Farewell, access arm!
The crew access arm has swung away from the Dragon spacecraft. Next up, the SpaceX team will arm the launch escape system that protects astronauts in case of emergency. Launch is just over 40 minutes away.
Time to fuel up
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Ax-1 mission is now being fueled in preparation for launch, which is about half an hour away.
The Ax-1 crew remain atop the Falcon 9 rocket as it fuels up, with launch about 15 minutes away.
Fueling of both stages continues, the strongback is preparing to retract and launch is minutes away.
Fuel loading complete
Both first and second stages of the Falcon 9 are fully loaded with propellants with 1 minute 30 seconds to launch.
Ax-1 in flight
The first-ever private mission to the International Space Station is on the way to orbit!
The view from the ground
Space.com senior writer Chelsea Gohd is on the ground in Florida for the Ax-1 launch — enjoy the view from NASA's press site.
Ax-1 is safely in orbit
SpaceX and Axiom Space confirm that the Ax-1 mission has safely reached orbit. Next, the Dragon capsule will separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.
Dragon is on its own in space
The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket has drifted away from the Dragon capsule, which will spend about 20 hours catching up to the International Space Station.
Visors up in zero G!
20 hours of flight ahead for Ax-1
Axiom Space has ended its broadcast for the launch of the Ax-1 mission. The team noted that the crew will proceed to take off their space suits and have a meal. Then, at about 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), the astronauts will enter a 10-hour rest period before docking procedures begin early Saturday (April 9).
The crew might speak to the public today at about 2:10 p.m. EDT (1810 GMT) and/or tomorrow at about 3:10 a.m. EDT (0710 GMT), but neither of those opportunities is guaranteed, mission personnel noted.
We'll continue to bring you mission updates as they become available.
Hello from space!
What a ride!April 8, 2022
The crew of the Ax-1 mission are now five hours into their flight, and all seems to be going smoothly, according to mission commander Michael Lopez-Alegria's first tweet since launch, which reads simply, "What a ride!"
It's docking day for Ax-1 crew
It's docking day for the four private astronauts of the the Axiom Space Ax-1 crew.
SpaceX's Ax-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft is on track for a planned 7:45 a.m. EDT (1145 GMT) docking at the International Space Station to ferry former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría and crewmates Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe to the orbiting laboratory. The four space travelers launched into orbit on Friday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
After today's docking, the crew will perform an hours-long series of leak checks between their two spacecraft with planned hatch-opening between their vehicles set for 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT). A welcome ceremony on the ISS is scheduled for 10:05 a.m. EDT (1405 GMT).
SpaceX Crew Dragon closing on ISS
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour with the Ax-1 crew is about 7.5 kilometers from the International Space Station and closing for today's docking operations.
Astronauts on the International Space Station captured a stunning view of the Dragon capsule during an orbital sunrise as it makes its approach.
The four Ax-1 astronauts have donned their SpaceX spacesuits for today's docking and are performing a series of leak checks on them currently.
Here's a look at the stages of today's docking.
SpaceX Dragon nears Waypoint 1 for docking
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour is nearing a location called waypoint 1 above the International Space Station as it proceeds for today's docking at the orbiting lab.
As the Dragon and Ax-1 crew approach, cameras on the space station captured an amazing view of the Dragon spacecraft and the half moon.
SpaceX Dragon 20 meters from space station
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour is now 20 meters away from the International Space Station and holding at Waypoint 2 as it prepares to dock at the orbiting lab.
You can watch it live in the window above, but the video feed may refresh. Watch uninterrupted feeds on our homepage.
Video glitch slows SpaceX Dragon docking
A video routing issue on the International Space Station has slowed today's docking of the SpaceX Ax-1 private astronaut mission.
The ISS crew is unable to see video from the Ax-1 Dragon's centerline camera, which is needed to proceed for today's docking, which was scheduled for 7:45 a.m. EDT (1145 GMT). The Crew Dragon Endeavour is now 20 meters away from the station and holding, and it can remain parked there for about 2 hours, NASA and SpaceX has said.
The Ax-1 astronauts on Dragon can see the video from their ship's camera, as can ISS and SpaceX flight controllers on the ground. The issue appears only to be affected the astronauts on the ISS currently.
"We feel your pain," Ax-1 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria told Mission Control when getting the news.
Here's a look at where Waypoint 2, where Dragon is station keeping, is at the station.
SpaceX has resumed docking operations for Ax-1. Docking is imminent.
Docking! SpaceX Dragon arrives with Ax-1 crew
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour and its Ax-1 astronaut crew have successfully docked at the International Space Station after a short delay due to a video issue.
Docking occurred at 8:29 a.m. (1229 GMT), about 44 minutes later than planned, as both spacecraft flew 258 statute miles over the central Atlantic Ocean.
A series of 12 hooks and latches will secure the Dragon Endeavour to its space-facing docking port on the station's Harmony module.
The delays with docking has pushed back the schedule of today's hatch opening and welcome ceremony. The hatches were scheduled to be opened at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT) followed by a welcome ceremony a half-hour later. Those events will now likely occur in the 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) hour.
Ax-1 astronauts doff spacesuits, prep for hatch opening
The four Ax-1 astronauts on SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour and International Space Station crew are preparing to open the hatches between their two ships for today's historic arrival of the first all-private crew to the ISS.
On the station, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron have opened the inner station hatch at the Dragon's docking port and have primed the outer hatch. They ISS and Dragon crews are set to equalize the pressure between their two craft before opening the final hatches.
SpaceX Ax-1 private astronauts board ISS
SpaceX's four Ax-1 private astronauts have entered the International Space Station and a welcoming ceremony is about to begin. You can watch it in the window above.
Israeli crewmember Eytan Stibbe was the first to board, followed by Canadian Mark Pathy, Larry Connor of the United States and Michael López-Alegría of the U.S. and Spain. They were welcomed with broad smiles and hugs from the space station's Expedition 67 crew.
Hatch opening occurred at 10:13 a.m. EDT (1413 GMT). Here's a video of how it happened.
SpaceX Ax-1 astronauts get their official pins
The four private astronauts of SpaceX's Ax-1 mission just got their astronaut pins.
Ax-1 mission commander Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut and station commander, gave each of his three crewmates official astronaut pins from the Association of Space Explorers to mark their trip to space. You can see the ceremony in the video above.
Words don't describe it," Ax-1 pilot and entrepreneur Larry Connor said. "Thanks to SpaceX for a phenomenal ride."
Each of the three newly minted astronauts said they're enjoying their trip so far and eager to start a packed schedule of science, education events and some fun aboard the station. Their SpaceX Dragon docked at the space station earlier today.
"It's just amazing to be here, it's hard to find the words," Pathy said, adding that he has to remember to look up to see crewmates floating on the ceiling. "It's been an amazing journey. I'm not just talking about the last 24 hours, I'm talking about everything that's got us here."
We'll have a full story on today's hatch opening and welcome ceremony shortly.
Ax-1 crew works in space
The #Ax1 crew continues their work on board @space_station with research and outreach activities occurring throughout the week. Check out some of our favorite #Ax1 moments from the launch of the first all private mission to the ISS:https://t.co/hx2NBApH4g pic.twitter.com/3U5kWoOw8aApril 12, 2022
The Ax-1 crew safely docked with the International Space Station on Saturday (April 9) after launching the day before. Since their arrival, the crew has adjusting to life in space and getting to work.
In an update posted by Axiom Space before docking, the crew reports that they "feel fine" now floating without gravity aboard the Dragon capsule. Once aboard the station, the remainder of the crew aboard the station welcomed them aboard in a welcome ceremony. There are now 11 humans living in space aboard the orbiting lab.
First tweet from space
La vida es corta; vívala a tope! 📸 NASA pic.twitter.com/nsw6C4g9k0April 10, 2022
In his first social media post since launching to space, Ax-1 commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría shared a photo of Earth, lit up at night, from space with the Spanish language caption: "La vida es corta; vívala a tope!" In English, this translates to: "Life is short; live it to the fullest!"
Ax-1 commander vs orange juice
Me = 0Orange Juice = 1 pic.twitter.com/tW95DcjDTMApril 12, 2022
As he and the rest of the mission crew adjust to living and working in space, Ax-1 commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría shared a short video on April 12 of himself trying to drink orange juice aboard the space station. Without gravity, the orange juice flies out of the pouch in his hands in a floating globule.
His caption for the video: "Me = 0 Orange Juice = 1" implies that he ultimately lost his battle to drink the juice.
Goodnight from space
Goodnight Moon.📸 @NASA pic.twitter.com/ed5aTsRKq4April 12, 2022
"Goodnight Moon" Ax-1 commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría said on Twitter alongside a striking image of the moon in space, with the blue glow of Earth's atmosphere visible below.
López-Alegría is leading a crew of private astronauts including Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy on a 10-day mission in space. The mission, from Texas-based aerospace company Axiom Space, launched April 8 with a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
Ax-1 crew hits 1-week mark of mission
The four private astronauts of Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission have hit the one-week mark of their 10-day mission to the International Space Station.
On Wednesday, the commercial astronauts spoke with students at Space Center Houston in Texas to describe what their mission's been like. Ax-1 pilot and American entrepreneur Larry Connor said he would love a trip to the moon after this flight, if the opportunity arises.
"The sights from here are amazing, especially during sunset," Eytan Stibbe, an Israeli entrepreneur and Ax-1 mission specialist, added during the livestreamed event. "You see the Earth, and you see the atmosphere and different colors, sometimes red, green, brown, yellow. All the colors of this very fragile atmosphere that surrounding our planet and protecting us."
Passover in space
Today's a special day for Stibbe and the Ax-1 crew as the Israeli astronaut will celebrate Passover in space.
"Passover is all about freedom, which is a value which we celebrate annually and remind ourselves about the importance of freedom," Stibbe said of the Jewish holiday during a pre-launch news conference on April 1.
Passover begins at sundown and Stibbe has taken shmurah matzah, or "guarded" matzah, along with other Passover provisions, provided by Rabbi Zvi Konikov of Chabad of the Space & Treasure Coasts, a synagogue in Florida. He is the 19th Jewish person to fly in space.
Ax-1 crew dreams of the moon
The Ax-1 crew, now living and working aboard the International Space Station, says they would love a trip to the moon.
"The sights from here are amazing, especially during sunset," private astronaut Eytan Stibbe, an Israeli entrepreneur who paid for his seat alongside crew members Mark Pathy and Larry Connor, said during a livestreamed event April 13.
"We've actually talked about that [going to the moon] and said 'hey, would you come back if there was an opportunity to go to the moon?'" Connor told third-grader Lilliana, age 8, during the event. "Universally, it's a resounding yes. So, please let the folks at NASA know that the Ax-1 crew is up to the challenge."
Read more: here
Ax-1 undocking delayed
The Ax-1 private astronaut crew who have been living aboard the International Space Station since they arrived on April 9 (after an April 8 launch) will have to wait a little bit longer before they can come home to Earth, according to a new statement from NASA>
The four-member crew was previously set to undock from the space station early in the morning on Tuesday (April 19). But now, due to a delay, the crew won't undock until about 10 p.m. EDT on Tuesday (0200 GMT April 20). This will see the crew splashing down off the coast of Florida no earlier than about 3:24 p.m. EDT (1924 GMT) on Wednesday (April 20).
ISS crew bids farewell to Ax-1
The Exp 67 crew said farewell to the Axiom Mission 1 crew today. The four #Ax1 astronauts depart the station aboard the @SpaceX Dragon Endeavour at 10pm ET live on @NASA TV. https://t.co/yuOTrZ4Jut pic.twitter.com/SVnsddteXYApril 19, 2022
The Expedition 67 crew of astronauts living aboard the International Space Station said goodbye to the Ax-1 private astronauts ahead of their undocking today (April 19).
The farewell ceremony came ahead of Ax-1's departure from the station, which will began at 10 p.m. EDT tonight (0200 GMT on April 20). The ceremony, which you can watch in the video embedded in the tweet above from the ISS, was led by station commander, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn.
Looking forward to Earth
Very soon I get to fly back home, on a dragon, to this beautiful planet! 📸@NASA #plvsvltra #furtherbeyond pic.twitter.com/9jrxQbKcfpApril 18, 2022
Ax-1 commander Michael López-Alegría shared a gorgeous image of our home planet as he and the other mission crew members look forward to returning to Earth after their roughly 10-day journey in space.
"Very soon I get to fly back home, on a dragon, to this beautiful planet!" he shared on Twitter.
The Ax-1 will be flying home tonight (April 19).
Tonight (April 19) at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT on April 20), the private astronauts of the Ax-1 crew will undock from the International Space Station and head home to Earth.
Ahead of their departure, mission commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría shared some words on Twitter about the mission.
"It's been an amazing experience. A few adjectives may be unique certainly, magnificent, and to some degree humbling, but I think more than anything it's been very, very rewarding," He said on Twitter.
He continued in additional posts, sharing that "We think that in the future this is something that we can share with more and more of humanity and make humankind all the better for it."
In his most recent post, he shared a few words about what it has been like living with other crews on the station.
"I want to echo what everyone has said about how gracious and patient Crew-3 has been with us. They've shared their time, their wisdom, their food, their stories... it's been a steady and gentle hand guiding us through these 10 days; we are very grateful," he posted.
Undocking delayed for Ax-1
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.April 19, 2022
Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission was set to undock tonight (April 19), but because of poor weather conditions back on Earth, the undocking has been delayed. A new undocking and return date has not yet been announced.
"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 tweeted.
Mike L-A spins in space
Current Mood.#plvsvltra #furtherbeyond pic.twitter.com/HBUJkux375April 20, 2022
Ax-1 mission commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría shared a gif of himself spinning around in space aboard the International Space Station with the caption "Current Mood" as the undocking and return of the private astronaut mission continues to be delayed.
Still assessing for undocking
As the weather forecast remains unfavorable, we're still assessing the best time to undock the #Ax1 mission from @Space_Station. We’ll be reviewing throughout the day. Really proud of the @NASA, @Axiom_Space, & @SpaceX teams for remaining focused as we carry out our mission. 1/2April 20, 2022
Ax-1 was set to depart the International Space Station in the morning on Tuesday (April 19). That was delayed to Tuesday night and then delayed further due to poor weather conditions on Earth; the mission is set to splash down off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.
Today (April 20), Kathy Lueders, the Associate Administrator of the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, shared on Twitter that they are still assessing when they will be undocking the Ax-1 mission and sending the crew home to Earth.
"As the weather forecast remains unfavorable, we're still assessing the best time to undock the #Ax1 mission from @Space_Station," Lueders tweeted. "We’ll be reviewing throughout the day. Really proud of the @NASA, @Axiom_Space, & @SpaceX."
She continued in a follow-up tweet, stating that "When #Ax1 departs, @Space_Station then has room for Crew-4 to dock. We want to provide a two-day gap after return for data reviews and to prepare for launch and stage recovery assets. We'll make decisions about a new Crew-4 launch date based on safely executing our plans."
NASA also shared the update on Twitter:
Due to unfavorable weather forecasts, we are still assessing when it's safe to bring the #Ax1 mission home from the @Space_Station. A new #Crew4 launch date will depend on this. Stay tuned for updates from us, @Axiom_Space and @SpaceX. pic.twitter.com/3sCDeAiB6nApril 20, 2022
Ax-1 to depart ISS on Saturday (April 26) after weather delays
The four-person Ax-1 mission was originally supposed to leave the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday (April 19). But forecasts of bad weather in the mission's splashdown zone off the coast of Florida nixed that plan, forcing mission team members to reassess.
A new schedule is now in place: Ax-1's SpaceX Dragon capsule will undock from the ISS on Saturday at 8:35 p.m. EDT (0035 GMT on April 24) and splash down on Sunday (April 24) at about 1:46 p.m. EDT (1746 GMT), weather permitting, NASA officials said.
The new plan also affects SpaceX's Crew-4 astronaut mission to the ISS, which had been scheduled to launch on Saturday. Crew-4 will now lift off no earlier than Tuesday (April 26). Read our story here.
Undocking day for Ax-1 astronaut crew
It's undocking day for SpaceX's private Ax-1 astronaut crew to end a two-week stay on the International Space Station.
Ax-1, the first all-private mission to the space station, launched four people to the space station on April 8 on a mission flown by SpaceX for is customer Axiom Space. Flying on the mission are: Commander Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut; and paying passengers Larry Connor, an American entrepreneur; Mark Pathy, a Canadian entrepreneur; and Israeli investor and entrepreneur Eytan Stibbe.
The Ax-1 crew's return to Earth has been delayed by bad weather at their splashdown site near Florida. If all goes well, the crew will undocking tonight (April 23) and splash down on Sunday (April 24).
Here's a schedule of events for today's undocking activities from NASA (all times in EDT):
Saturday, April 23
- 4:15 p.m. — Coverage of the hatch closure of Axiom Mission 1 at the International Space Station (Closure targeted for 4:30 p.m.)
- 6:15 p.m. — Coverage of the undocking of Axiom Mission 1 from the International Space Station (Undocking targeted for 6:35 p.m.; coverage of the Axiom 1 mission reentry and splashdown will be streamed on Axiom Space's website)
Sunday, April 24
Axiom Space will provide splashdown coverage of SpaceX's Crew Dragon for the Ax-1 mission. Here's their schedule.
- 12:45 p.m. — Coverage of splashdown begins from Axiom Space
- 1:46 p.m. — Splashdown time for Ax-1 private astronaut mission.
Undocking delayed to Sunday, April 24
The Ax-1 astronaut crew's undocking from the International Space Station has been postponed to no earlier than Sunday, April 24, due to bad weather at SpaceX's splashdown sites.
Undocking is now targeted for 8:55 p.m. EDT on Sunday (0055 April 25 GMT), with a splashdown planned for Monday at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).
NASA's undocking coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT) on Sunday for hatch closures between SpaceX's Ax-1 Crew Dragon capsule and the International Space Station. Undocking coverage will resume at 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT).
Hatch closing underway for SpaceX Ax-1 astronauts
After an extended stay on the International Space Station, the four private astronauts of SpaceX's Ax-1 mission are preparing to close the hatches between their Crew Dragon capsule and the International Space Station.
Hatch closure is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT (2245 GMT). Undocking is set for 8:55 p.m. EDT (0055 GMT). You can watch tonight's hatch closure activities live, as well as undocking later tonight.
Here's a look back at some amazing photos of the Ax-1 mission's launch and trip so far.
SpaceX Crew Dragon hatch closed for undocking
Ax-1 mission pilot and private astronaut Larry Connor has confirmed that SpaceX's Crew Dragon hatch to the International Space Station is officially closed.
Hatch closure occurred at 7:26 p.m. EDT (2326 GMT), nearly an hour later than planned, but it should not affect the planned 8:55 p.m. EDT (0055 GMT) undocking time for the Ax-1 mission.
Inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour, Connor and Ax-1 astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe have donned their sleek SpaceX pressure suits and are settling into their seats for tonight's undocking.
On the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn is performing final hatch checks and will soon close hatches on the ISS side, then depressurize the vestibule between the two spacecraft. That depress activity should take about an hour.
NASA will resume its undocking webcast at 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT) ahead of the planned undocking. Tune in then! - Tariq Malik
NASA Ax-1 undocking coverage underway
NASA's webcast for today's Ax-1 undocking from the International Space Station is underway. You can watch it live here.
Undocking was originally scheduled for 8:55 pm ET, though the crew is a bit behind schedule. NASA has said the delay should not affect undocking time.
New undocking time for Ax-1 astronauts: 9:10 pm ET
Update: Undocking is now set for 9:10 p.m. EDT (0110 GMT).
Vestibule leak check is in progress; Dragon will now undock from the @space_station at 9:15 p.m. ETApril 25, 2022
SpaceX now says the Crew Dragon carrying the Ax-1 astronauts will now undock from the International Space Station at 9:15 p.m. EDT (0115 GMT).
Currently, vestibule leak checks are wrapping up between the Dragon and space station at its docking port.
Undocking! Ax-1 astronauts depart space station
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour carrying the Ax-1 private astronauts successfully undocked from the International Space Station at 9:10 p.m. EDT (0110 GMT). The departure occurred as both craft sailed 262 miles over South Atlantic Ocean, west of the coast of Africa.
The Dragon capsule is now slowly separating from the station to begin a 16-hour return trip to Earth. Splashdown is set for Monday, April 25, around 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).
Ax-1 Crew Dragon begins trip to Earth
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour has begun its 16-hour trip back to Earth after a smooth, if a few minutes late, undocking from the space-facing port of the Harmony module on the International Space Station.
Dragon has completed a final departure burn and is now on track for a splashdown off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, April 25.
"Thanks once again for all the support through this amazing adventure that we've had," Ax-1 mission commander Michael López-Alegría radioed NASA's mission control in Houston after undocking. "Even longer and more exciting than we thought. We really appreciate your professionalism, and with that we'll sign off."
Splashdown! Ax-1 is back on Earth
Ax-1 is back on Earth. The SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying the four private Ax-1 astronauts splashed down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida today (April 25), hitting the water right on time at 1:06 p.m. EDT (1706 GMT). Read our splashdown story here.
SpaceX recovery ship pulls Ax-1 Dragon capsule from the water
The SpaceX recovery ship Megan has pulled the Ax-1 Dragon capsule from the sea. The spacecraft hit Megan's deck at 1:34 p.m. EDT (1734 GMT), less than 30 minutes after splashing down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. You can read our splashdown story here.
Ax-1 astronauts egress from Dragon capsule
The Ax-1 astronauts are breathing fresh air for the first time in 17 days. The four crewmembers exited their SpaceX Dragon capsule just before 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Monday (April 25), less than an hour after they splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
Each astronaut was helped out of the Dragon by recovery crews and will undergo medical checks to ensure they're doing fine after spending so much time in microgravity.
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