SpaceX/Axiom Space Mission 1 Launch

After delays due to the NASA Space Launch System wet dress rehearsal conducted on an adjacent launch pad, SpaceX plans to launch the Axiom Space Ax-1 mission, the first fully private mission to visit the International Space Station (ISS). Launch is scheduled for 2022-04-08 at 15:17 UTC, and weather is forecast as 80% favourable for launch.

Axiom Space has received a NASA contract for US$ 140 million to launch one or more modules to be added to the ISS which will provide research facilities for users of the station. Upon retirement of the ISS, Axiom plans to detach its modules and attach them to a privately-funded space station it is developing.

This flight will deliver a crew of four to the ISS in a ten day mission with eight days on the ISS. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will be making its third flight (becoming fleet leader) and Falcon 9 booster B1062 its fifth flight. Mission commander is Axiom pilot Michael López-Alegría, veteran of four spaceflights to the ISS on Space Shuttle and Soyuz missions. The other three crew members are basically space tourists from the U.S. Canada, and Israel, one of whom says he paid US$ 50 million for the flight.

Here is a pre-flight preview from Everyday Astronaut.

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Here is the pre-launch press conference describing the mission, held on 2022-04-07. Participants are:

Derek Hassmann, Operations Director, Axiom Space
Dana Weigel, International Space Station Deputy Program Manager, NASA
Angela Hart, Commercial LEO Program Manager, NASA
Benjamin Reed, Senior Director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
Launch Weather Officer, 45th Weather Squadron, U.S. Space Force

Coverage of the Axiom-1 launch is now live. The crew fas just left for the launch pad to board the Crew Dragon.

Great continuous feed of the landing! Even if they missed the bullseye.

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Here is live coverage of the approach and docking to the International Space Station.

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Grifters gonna grift—Axiom space announces mission NFTs “minted in space”.

The link takes you to the “Axiom Space Official NFT Marketplace” where you can “Be part of Axiom’s web3 space community”. On the page is an image of what appears to be a deceased spacewalker tumbling in space without a tether, which is being auctioned as a “1/1 NFT”.

Don’t let this one get away!

This is the company that gets huffy when the people who pay them US$ 55 million for a week on the International Space Station are called “tourists”.

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After a series of delays due to poor weather in the recovery zone, the Axiom-1 Crew Dragon is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station (ISS) at 00:35 UTC on 2022-04-24 and splashdown off the Florida coast around 17:46 UTC that same day.

Because NASA requires two days to reconfigure the space station between departure and arrival of a crew at the same docking port, and to reposition recovery assets in case of a launch abort, the Crew-4 launch to the ISS has been rescheduled to no earlier than 08:15 UTC on 2022-04-26.

For additional details, see the NASA blog post “Station Crew Awaits Ax-1 Departure and Crew-4 Launch”.

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Here is video of the Axiom-1 Crew Dragon re-entry, splashdown, and recovery. I have cued the video to start at the moment the infrared camera first spotted the re-entering capsule; scroll back for earlier events.