SpaceX Launches Private Axiom Crew to Space Station [VIDEO]
In another monumental achievement for private space travel, the four astronauts of Axiom Mission-2 have successfully arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) today.
The crew, comprised of astronauts Peggy Whitson, John Shoffner, Ali Alqarni, and Rayyanah Barnawi, were officially welcomed aboard the ISS after Dragon’s hatch opened at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 22.
Axiom Mission-2 aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft made its smooth docking at the orbital complex at 9:12 a.m., marking the second successful journey by a fully private crew to the orbiting laboratory.
Aboard the ISS, the Axiom Space crew joined forces with the seven members of the ongoing Expedition 69. The existing crew includes NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Woody Hoburg, and Stephen Bowen, along with UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin, Andrey Fedyaev, and Sergey Prokopyev.
As part of the schedule, the combined team of astronauts will participate in a formal welcome ceremony on board the ISS.
Welcome aboard the @Space_Station #Ax2 crew!
They celebrated the moment with a welcome ceremony. The Ax-2 crew members were pinned with the Universal Astronaut Insignia which represents all space travelers. pic.twitter.com/qfC2NDkFbv
— Axiom Space (@Axiom_Space) May 22, 2023
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched Dragon into orbit around 15.5 hours prior at 5:37 p.m. ET. The launch took place from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, propelling the Ax-2 crew into the cosmos.
During their tenure aboard the orbiting lab, the Ax-2 crew has a packed agenda filled with over 20 science and technology experiments. Their research fields range from human physiology and physical sciences to STEAM, with the collective aim of augmenting our understanding in ways that directly benefit life on Earth. This knowledge will contribute to advancements in healthcare, material science, technology development, and broader industrial innovation.
Axiom Space’s return journey is scheduled for May 30, weather permitting. Their trip will conclude with a splashdown at a landing site off the Florida coast, symbolizing yet another landmark moment in the continued expansion of private space exploration.
Check out the replay of Dragon approaching and docking with the ISS below: