Second private Ax-2 mission successfully splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico

The capsule with four astronauts of the Ax-2 mission successfully splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. This was the second private mission of Axiom Space, which it carried out with the help of the Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The Ax-2 mission capsule is lifted aboard a rescue vessel. Source: Axiom Space

Completion of the Ax-2 mission

The Ax-2 private space mission was successfully completed at 5:04 a.m. on May 31, GMT+3. The capsule of the Crew Dragon spacecraft created by SpaceX made a successful splashdown on water in the Gulf of Mexico near the city of Panama City, located in Florida. 12 hours before that, the spacecraft undocked from the ISS and began the procedure of de-orbiting.

The mission was entirely commercial and organized by Axiom Space. Its employee and head of the crew training group, Peggy Whitson, was the commander of the spacecraft. For her, a former NASA astronaut, this flight into space was the fourth in her career. “SpaceX, we would like to tell you, that was a phenomenal ride,” she said after landing.

At the age of 63, Whitson is not only the oldest woman to have been in space. Now she holds the record for the total stay in space among women — 673 days and 8 hours. Three other Ax-2 crew members were clients of Axiom Space. 

Who else flew into space

Of the three space tourists who participated in the 10-day expedition to the ISS, two are citizens of Saudi Arabia. Their journey was financed by their own state. Ali AlQarni is a pilot of the country’s Royal Air Force, and Rayyanah Barnawi is a biologist. On board the ISS, she investigated the division of stem cells.

When Barnawi completed her experiments and said goodbye to the crew of the missions remaining on board the ISS, she could barely hold back tears. “Every story comes to an end, and this is only the beginning of a new era for our country and our region,” she said.

The fourth member of the Ax-2 crew was an American businessman John Shoffner who paid for his ticket on his own. Axiom Space hopes that he is not the last client who will pay for the realization of his own dream to visit space. Before the end of this year, the company plans to send a new private mission into space.

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