CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – After Sunday’s SpaceX Axiom Mission 2 launch, the Falcon 9 booster successfully returned and landed on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station – the first time ever on an astronaut launch.
The returning booster created a sonic boom heard across the Space Coast.
“That’s what you’re waiting for!” an onlooker could be heard saying as the boom shook Brevard County.
Earlier Sunday, Space Launch Delta 45 posted a noise advisory warning residents of the impending boom.
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Please be advised, this evening's launch will be followed by a sonic boom.— Space Launch Delta 45 (@SLDelta45) May 21, 2023
This will occur shortly after launch, as the booster lands on landing zone 1 and at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. pic.twitter.com/EKrOjiXQ6K
The launch will send the second all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.
The crew for the privately-funded mission include Peggy Whitson, a retired NASA astronaut, John Shoffner of Tennessee, and Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
“This is a dream come true for everyone,” Barnawi said before the flight. “Just being able to understand that this is possible. If me and Ali can do it, then they can do it, too.”
On Monday, NASA will begin coverage of the docking to the International Space Station at 7:30 a.m., with docking scheduled for 9:16 a.m.
It’s the second private flight to the space station organized by Houston-based Axiom Space. The first was last year by three businessmen, with another retired NASA astronaut. The company plans to start adding its own rooms to the station in another few years, eventually removing them to form a stand-alone outpost available for hire.
#Ax2's @SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft has separated from its rocket—the Axiom Mission 2 crew is now on course for the @Space_Station.— NASA (@NASA) May 21, 2023
Tune in for docking coverage (here and on NASA TV) starting at 7:30am ET (1130 UTC) on Monday, May 22. pic.twitter.com/RIRiAlOD1R
The first-stage booster that landed back at Cape Canaveral eight minutes after liftoff will be recycled for a future flight.
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