Axiom Space, SpaceX target April for ISS launch with private crew

Ax-1 pathfinder mission to launch no earlier than April 3

Ax-1 crew members (left to right) Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, Michael López-Alegría and Eytan Stibbe, pictured in Houston. (Axiom Space)

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – Axiom Space and SpaceX have pushed back their planned launch date of the Axiom Mission 1, which will take the first-ever all-private crew to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center, according to a news release.

Pending range availability, Ax-1 will launch no earlier than Sunday, April 3 — a few days later than the previously planned date of March 30.

The change was made to give more time for final pre-launch spacecraft processing, the release said.

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Making the 10-day trip — which will include eight days on the ISS — will be Axiom Space astronauts Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, Michael López-Alegría and Eytan Stibbe. The group completed a “test drive” Thursday, suiting up and checking equipment in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that will take them to orbit and ultimately back to Earth via splashdown.

Watch the Ax-1 mission briefing in the video player below:

Each member has also completed training in “safety, health, ISS systems, launch site operations, emergency protocols, and additional training for research and technology demonstration payloads,” Axiom Space said on its website.

The Houston-based private spaceflight facilitator refers to Ax-1 as a pathfinder mission meant to pave the way for “Axiom Station,” the world’s first commercial space station which is already being manufactured, the company said.

Axiom Space first cut a deal with NASA in May 2021 to make private ISS missions a reality, later signing with SpaceX that June to charter three such flights following the successes of the Demo-2, Crew-1 and Crew-2 missions with Crew Dragon capsules.

Florida’s Fourth Estate spoke with a woman looking to change space tourism. Listen to the episode in the media player below:

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.