The first Ax-1 private mission has finally returned from the ISS. The splash down the coast of Florida went without problems. Successful completion of the flight will allow launching the next Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The Ax-1 mission was completed successfully
On April 25, at 10:52 a.m. Kyiv time, the Crew Dragon spacecraft with four members of Axiom’s first private space mission undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) and headed for Earth. At 08.06 p.m. on the same day, it landed on the water near the coast of Florida.
Despite the engineers’ concerns, the weather at the landing site was favorable. In addition, for the first time in three missions, all four parachutes of the spacecraft opened simultaneously. After landing, the crew members went to Orlando, Florida for the necessary medical tests.
The first private mission of Axiom launched to the ISS on April 8. An employee of the company and three of its clients took part in it. The flight was supposed to end last week. However, due to bad weather near the landing site, the completion of the mission was postponed all the time. No one had the desire to take senseless risks.
The astronauts did not mind at all, since the agreement with them implies the possibility of such delays. Moreover, it was not necessary to pay more for extra time at the station. The crew did not sit idle, but completed some experiments that had previously been postponed. In addition, they helped other astronauts in many ways.
Launch of New Missions
Meanwhile, the situation on Earth remained tense. Immediately after the return of the Ax-1 mission to the ISS, the next Crew Dragon was to be planned to launch. It was supposed to fly a planned mission consisting of three NASA astronauts and cosmonauts of the European Space Agency.
However, the engineers of SpaceX, which owns both spacecraft, refused to launch the second one until the first one returned from orbit. But finally it happened and the Crew-4 mission can fly. The launch will take place on April 27 at 10:52 a.m. Kyiv time.
Approximately 5 days after the arrival of this mission to the station, the previous one should return to Earth. Crew-3 members have been on the ISS since November last year. They will return on their spacecraft.
As for the upcoming private flights, Axiom considers the experience positive. However, the next Ax-2 mission will not fly to the ISS until the spring of 2023. Preliminarily it will be commanded by former NASA astronaut Peggy Wilson.
According to spacenews.com