The return from the International Space Station of four astronauts of the private Ax-1 mission has been postponed until Saturday. The reason for this was bad weather at the landing site. It also delays the launch of the next Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Return of Ax-1 delayed
The return from the International Space Station (ISS) of Axiom’s first private mission has been delayed. The reason for this was bad weather conditions observed at the landing site off the coast of Florida.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts of the Ax-1 mission was supposed to undock from the station on April 19. However, a day before, it was announced that the splashdown zone off the coast of Florida was too risky. Therefore, the separation of the spacecraft from the ISS was postponed to April 20. Landing, accordingly, should take place on the 21st or 22nd.
However, further observations of the weather showed that the crew of Michael Lopez-Alegria would have to stay on the ISS until Saturday. To date, the undocking of the Crew Dragon is scheduled for 2:35 a.m. on April 24, Kyiv time. The landing, accordingly, will also take place on Saturday, but later in the evening.
Landing delay may postpone Crew-4 launch
The Ax-1 mission is the first to involve exclusively private astronauts. Meanwhile, they and the Axiom company strongly emphasize their difference from space tourists. But the attention to the flight is still very great. Therefore, no one wants to take risks.
But it is not that simple. SpaceX’s specialists, acting as a subcontractor in this mission, are preparing their own launch — funded by the US Government Crew-4. They have already changed its launch due to the delay of Ax-1 and are going to do it further. Moreover, engineers insist that at least 48 hours should pass between the landing of the Lopez-Alegria crew and the next launch.
While the launch of Crew-4 is planned for April 26. However, no one can guarantee that the weather will improve in the next two days and the landing of the private crew will be held on Saturday. Consequently, the launch of the next SpaceX spacecraft can be moved again.
According to www.space.com