The first European commercial crew to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Axiom-3 mission successfully docked with the orbital outpost last week. The Axiom-3 crew members: Marcus Vandt from Sweden, Michael Lopez-Alegria, who holds dual citizenship of the United States and Spain, Walter Villadei from Italy and Alper Gezeravci from Turkey, set off on January 19 from the Kennedy Space Center on a SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was launched into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket.
Current ISS crew members, Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara, recently posted impressive images showing Crew Dragon flying up to the space station for docking. Moghbeli shared four gorgeous photos, also taken from the station. They show the spacecraft flying high over the Himalayas.
With the arrival of the Axiom-3 crew, the total number of people on board the ISS has increased to 11. Over the next few weeks, the new crew members will conduct more than 30 scientific experiments and participate in 50 awareness events with organizations in their homelands.
#Ax3 has arrived! I’m not sure they could have chosen a more scenic backdrop for their arrival. Excited to welcome @CommanderMLA, @WalterVilladei, @TURKastro, and @astro_marcus on board the @Space_Station! pic.twitter.com/ckqS2VgG10— Jasmin Moghbeli (@AstroJaws) January 20, 2024
Axiom-3 is the third commercial mission to the ISS, organized by the Texas company Axiom Space with the support of NASA and SpaceX. The first mission took place in April 2022. It is believed that Villadei, Vandt and Gezeravci paid tens of millions of dollars for the opportunity to spend several weeks in orbit. Providing opportunities for individuals to travel into space allows NASA to develop a commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.
Axiom Space, while expanding its commercial efforts, is also seeking to build a private space station that can one day replace the ISS when the outdated orbital outpost is decommissioned in the early 2030s.
Earlier, we reported on how space tourists encountered trouble on the ISS.
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