Return to Earth: Splashdown off Florida coast delayed for 1st all-private space crew

Ax-1 crew undocking, splashdown delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions

Historic Ax-1 launch lifts off from Florida Space Coast

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The four-member crew onboard the first all-private flight to the International Space Station have postponed their return to Earth again after approximately 12 days in space due to unfavorable weather, Axiom Space announced Tuesday.

NASA said the crew will now undock from the ISS Saturday at 8:35 p.m., with a plan to splashdown off the coast of Florida at about 1:46 p.m. on Sunday.

This is the second undocking delay announced by space officials in the past day.

According to NASA, the private astronauts of the Ax-1 mission, led by Axiom Space and SpaceX, were previously scheduled to undock at about 10 p.m. Tuesday before beginning the journey back to Kennedy Space Center, where they were set to splashdown on Florida’s Space Coast no earlier than 3:24 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Ax-1 team was originally scheduled to undock at 10:35 a.m. on Tuesday and splashdown at Kennedy Space Center no earlier than 7:19 a.m. on Wednesday.

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Space officials will continue to monitor the weather at the splashdown sites prior to undocking to ensure the four astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft arrive safely.

Ax-1 Commander Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Larry Connor, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy became the first all-private crew to launch to the International Space Station on April 8. They were sent up there for over a week to conduct a diverse set of science experiments in space.

NASA and Axiom Space will begin coverage of their historic return with a farewell ceremony between the Ax-1 and Expedition 67 crews at a later time.

News 6 will cover the crew’s undocking and splashdown live. Check back on ClickOrlando.com for updates.


About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.