Axiom Mission 1

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Axiom Mission 1
SpaceX Axiom 1 docking (cropped).jpg
Ax-1 approaching the ISS
NamesAx-1
Mission typePrivate spaceflight to ISS
OperatorAxiom Space
COSPAR ID2022-037A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.52204Edit this on Wikidata
WebsiteAxiom Mission 1
Mission duration17 days, 1 hour and 48 minutes
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftCrew Dragon Endeavour
ManufacturerSpaceX
Launch mass12,519 kg (27,600 lb)
Landing mass9,616 kg (21,200 lb)
Crew
Crew size4
Members
Start of mission
Launch date8 April 2022, 15:17:12 UTC[1]
RocketFalcon 9 Block 5
B1062.5
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
ContractorSpaceX
End of mission
Recovered byMV Megan
Landing date25 April 2022, 17:06 UTC[2]
Landing siteAtlantic Ocean
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Inclination51.66°
Docking with International Space Station
Docking portHarmony zenith
Docking date9 April 2022, 12:29 UTC
Undocking date25 April 2022, 01:10 UTC
Time docked15 days, 12 hours and 41 minutes
Axiom Mission 1.png
Axiom Mission 1 patch
Axiom Crew Portrait.jpg
Connor, Stibbe, Pathy and López-Alegría 

Axiom Mission 1 (or Ax-1)[3] was a privately funded and operated crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission was operated by Axiom Space out of Axiom's Mission Control Center MCC-A[4] in Houston, Texas. The flight launched on 8 April 2022 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.[5] The spacecraft used was a SpaceX Crew Dragon. The crew consisted of Michael López-Alegría,[6] an American born in Spain and a professionally trained astronaut hired by Axiom, Eytan Stibbe[7] from Israel,[8] Larry Connor from the United States,[8] and Mark Pathy from Canada.[8]

Background[edit]

Axiom Space was founded in 2016 with the goal of creating the world's first commercial space station. In early 2020, NASA announced that Axiom had been granted access to the forward port of the ISS' Harmony module, to which Axiom plans to berth the first node of the Axiom Orbital Segment; a complex that could grow to five pressurized modules after 2024 with a large observation window – similar to the current Cupola mounted on the Nadir side of Tranquility. This new addition to the ISS will be able to facilitate the company's activities in low Earth orbit.[9] Prior to the first module's launch as early as 2024, Axiom planned to organize and fly crewed missions to the ISS, consisting of either paying private astronauts or astronauts from public agencies or private organizations.[10] In March 2020, Axiom announced they would charter a flight to the ISS with SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft as early as late 2021.[11] This mission is the first wholly commercially-operated crewed mission to the ISS, and one of the first dedicated orbital private crew missions, alongside Roscosmos' Soyuz MS-20 mission in December 2021.[12] Following their first flight, Axiom plans to offer crewed flights to the ISS as often as twice per year, "aligning with the flight opportunities as they are made available by NASA".[13]

Crew[edit]

Michael López-Alegría was chosen as a commercial astronaut.[6] The other three seats were reserved for space tourists, announced to cost US$55 million each.[14]

Following the launch of Crew Dragon Demo-2 in May 2020, the first crewed test flight of Dragon 2, Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said that they planned to announce the names of the crew in "a month or so";[15] Ars Technica reported that the full crew complement would "probably be unveiled in January 2021".[16] On 26 January 2021, Axiom revealed the full crew of the mission, consisting of Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe.[17][18][19][20] They also announced Peggy Whitson as the backup commander for the mission and John Shoffner as backup pilot.[21][22] Eytan Stibbe's backup was his daughter Dr. Shir Stibbe.[23] Michael Lopez-Alegria is a former NASA astronaut and Axiom Space VP.[24] John Shoffner is an airshow pilot and entrepreneur, and not an Axiom employee nor a government trained astronaut.[18] Peggy Whitson is a former NASA astronaut and Axiom consultant.[24]

It was reported that actor Tom Cruise and film producer Doug Liman would be passengers for a movie project,[25][full citation needed] but it was later announced they will fly on a subsequent flight.[26]

Prime crew[edit]

Position Astronaut
Spacecraft commander United States / Spain Michael López-Alegría
Fifth spaceflight
Pilot United States Larry Connor
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Israel Eytan Stibbe
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 Canada Mark Pathy
First spaceflight

Backup crew[edit]

Position Astronaut
Spacecraft commander United States Peggy Whitson
Pilot United States John Shoffner
Mission specialist 1 Israel Dr. Shir Stibbe

Mission[edit]

Liftoff of Axiom Mission 1 from LC-39A

The mission launched at 11:17 EDT on 8 April 2022.[5] It launched atop a Falcon 9 Block 5 launch vehicle from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A), a NASA-owned launch pad leased to SpaceX for Falcon 9 launches. The mission is being flown aboard Crew Dragon Endeavour, which previously supported the Crew Dragon Demo-2 and SpaceX Crew-2 missions.[27] From there the spacecraft spent less than a day in transit to the station and dock with Harmony, where they were planned to spend ten days aboard the International Space Station (ISS).[28] Following their time on the ISS, the spacecraft undocked with plans to return to Earth via a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. Bad weather in the landing zone delayed the return,[29] as result the crew spent 16 days docked to the ISS for a total of 17 days in orbit.[2]

It was revealed that the "zero-g indicator" aboard the first private mission to visit the International Space Station was a toy dog called Caramel, the mascot for the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation.[30]

During their days aboard the ISS, the private crew conducted more than 25 different research experiments.[31]

The Israeli mission segment is called Rakia, which means sky in Hebrew and is also the title of the book published with Ilan Ramon's diary fragments that survived the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.[32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ax-1 now targeting April 8th launch". 3 April 2022. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Ax-1 crew returns safely to Earth, successfully completing first all-private astronaut mission to ISS". 25 April 2022. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  3. ^ "NASA, Axiom Agree to First Private Astronaut Mission on Space Station". NASA. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "Axiom Space's Mission Control Center Ready to Support Upcoming Ax-1 Mission to International Space Station". Axiom Space. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b "NASA Launch Schedule". NASA. 28 March 2022. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b Irene Klotz [@Free_Space] (18 September 2020). "SpaNSFce Hero mission is about 4th on @Axiom_Space manifest, Mike Suffredini tells @AviationWeek. First up in October '21 is flight of 3 private individuals and former @NASA_Astronauts Mike Lopez-Algeria" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ "Israel's second astronaut to blast off to space in 2021". 16 November 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Robert Z. Pearlman (26 January 2021). "Axiom Space Names First Private Crew to Visit Space Station". Scientific American. Scientific American.
  9. ^ "Axiom selected by NASA for access to International Space Station port". Axiom Space. 27 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Axiom Space - National Astronaut Missions". Axiom Space.
  11. ^ Ralph, Eric (9 March 2020). "SpaceX space tourism ambitions made real with Crew Dragon's first private contract". Teslarati.
  12. ^ "Roscosmos signs new contract on flight of two space tourists to ISS". TASS. 19 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Axiom Space plans first-ever fully private human spaceflight mission to International Space Station". Axiom Space. 5 March 2020.
  14. ^ Chang, Kenneth (5 March 2020). "There Are 2 Seats Left for This Trip to the International Space Station". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Sheetz, Michael [@thesheetztweetz] (3 June 2020). "Axiom Space CEO Mike Suffredini said his company's private trip to the ISS with SpaceX is scheduled for October 2021, so Demo-2 helped "our customers know that it's going to be real". Axiom plans to announce the 3 passengers in a month or so. t.co/31f2YNI2gO" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Berger, Eric. "There are an insane amount of cool space things happening in 2021". arstechnica.com. Ars Technica. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  17. ^ Davenport, Christian (26 January 2021). "Meet the people paying US$55 million each to fly to the space station". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  18. ^ a b "Axiom Space names first private crew to launch to space station". collectSPACE. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  19. ^ Dunn, Marcia (26 January 2021). "1st private space crew paying US$55 million each to fly to station". AP News.
  20. ^ Axiom Space [@Axiom_Space] (26 January 2021). "The first private ISS crew in the history of humankind has been assembled. Commander Michael López-Alegría, Mission Pilot Larry Connor, Mission Specialist Mark Pathy, Mission Specialist Eytan Stibbe, Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1): The start of a new era" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ Axiom Space [@Axiom_Space] (26 January 2021). "Ax-1 backup commander @AstroPeggy" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Griffin, Andrew (26 January 2021). "Axiom Space revela la primera tripulación comercial que viajará a la Estación Espacial Internacional". The Independent. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  23. ^ "Israeli astronaut awaits launch for 10-day stay at International Space Station". Ynet.
  24. ^ a b "What would you ask an astronaut, given the chance?". Axiom Space. 8 October 2020.
  25. ^ "Tom Cruise is officially going to space for his next movie". 22 September 2020.
  26. ^ Sheetz, Michael (26 January 2021). "Axiom Space unveils two investors will fly on the first fully-private SpaceX crew mission to the ISS". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2 February 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  27. ^ Margetta, Robert. "NASA, Space Station Partners Approve First Axiom Mission Astronauts". NASA. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  28. ^ Kelly, Emre (5 March 2020). "Axiom signs contract with SpaceX to fly Crew Dragon on first fully private ISS mission". Florida Today.
  29. ^ "Ax-1 Crew Update: Flight Day 12, Undocking delayed". 19 April 2022. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Hospital mascot, not Disney rabbit, floats on Axiom-1 mission as zero-g indicator". collectSPACE.com. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  31. ^ "Axiom Space Ax-1 mission to expand health, technology researchers' access to ISS". Axiom Space. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  32. ^ New Details Emerge About Israeli Astronaut's Upcoming Space Mission