Ax-1: First private mission to International Space Station launched

Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first full private mission to the International Space Station (ISS), launches this Friday (8) at 12:18 Brasilia time. Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe travel in the Crew Dragon capsule, propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket, and will spend ten days in space, eight of them aboard the ISS, where they will conduct a series of experiments. scientific and study.

Larry Connor, who is an aviator, plays the pilot. Mark Pathy, CEO and Director of MARVIK from Montreal, Canada, and Eytan Stibbe, founding partner of Vital Capital and former Israeli Air Force pilot, are mission experts. Lastly, Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut and vice president of business development at Axiom Space, is mission commander.

During his tenure at the Lopez-Alegría space agency, he added more than 257 days of activity in space, and is now the first person to lead civil and commercial space missions.

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From left to right, Mark Pathy, Larry Connor, Michael López-Alegría and Eytan Stibbe (Image: Reproduction/SpaceX)

The mission’s more than 20 scientific experiments were developed in partnership with various agencies, such as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics and the Canadian Space Agency, among others. In addition to scientific goals, Ax-1 is also the first step towards building the first private space station, a project initiated by Axiom Space.

Ax-1 launch

The mission crew arrived at the launch pad aboard the Tesla car around 9:20 a.m. ET, with just under three hours before the rocket left the ground. After that, they began preparations to board the Crew Dragon capsule — and, as is the tradition of astronauts flying with SpaceX, they signed their names in the “white space” right before boarding the capsule.

At around 09.31 WIB, they began to prepare to enter the Dragon capsule. A communication check with the crew was carried out a few minutes later.

At 09:38, members of Ax-1 were placed inside the Endeavor capsule, the same capsule used in the Demo-2 and Crew-2 missions. At around 10 a.m., the crew seats were rotated to the launch position, and the mission team carried out an inspection to make sure there were no leaks in the suits.

The side hatch closed at 10:24 a.m. and the SpaceX team carried out further pressure checks inside the capsule. They were not satisfied, and decided to open the hatch, clean the valves, and double check to make sure there were no leaks. The verification went smoothly, with only an hour remaining before launch.

The “arm”, the platform that gives access to the capsule, was removed from its position at 11:37 am. Then, with 40 minutes to launch, SpaceX began preparing an escape system, which protects astronauts in the event of an emergency.

The Falcon 9 rocket began loading with propellant at around 11:50 am. In addition, SpaceX showed an image of an autonomous ship, already positioned at sea, which will receive the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket upon its return from space, while the second will follow to bring the capsule into orbit.

Finally, the launch took place at 12:18 pm. According to information from SpaceX, docking on the International Space Station is expected to take place at around 08.45 WIB, Saturday (9), Brasilia time.

Below, you can see the full release broadcast:

Laura Davis

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