Second private Axiom mission will fly to the ISS in May

Axiom Space has announced that its second fully private mission to the International Space Station will launch on May 8. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will take four astronauts into space, two of whom will be citizens of Saudi Arabia.

The crew of the Ax-2 mission. Source: Axiom Space

New Axiom Space Mission

Representatives of Axiom Space announced on April 6 that their second private expedition would launch to the ISS in a month. The Ax-2 mission will launch on the evening of May 8 (5:43 a.m.  on May 9, GMT+3) on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Thus, both the training of all its participants and the spacecraft will be completely commercial.

The first Ax-1 expedition took place last spring. Then the astronauts successfully reached the ISS, but their return to Earth was postponed due to weather conditions at the landing site. The engineers took into account the experience of this mission in the new one.

Ax-2 will last 10 days. During this time, the astronauts will be engaged mainly in educational projects. It is expected that more than 12 thousand students will take part in them remotely. If everything goes according to plan, the astronauts will return to Earth on May 10 at 06.40 p.m. GMT+3.

And this is not the end of the commercial flight program implemented by Axiom Space. On March 14, it signed an agreement with NASA on the third private mission of astronauts Ax-3, which is scheduled for November. Axiom does not say who will carry out this mission.

Who will fly into space

As in the previous expedition, four astronauts will take part in this one. They will be headed by the director of Axiom Space with manned flights, Peggy Whitson. She is a former US astronaut who has been in space five times.

Also on board will be two representatives of Saudi Arabia: Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni. They will become the second and third inhabitants of this country to be in space. And Barnawi will also become the first woman from this Arab kingdom to get into space.

The fourth crew member will be John Shoffner, an Axiom customer, who will pilot the Ax-2. “He has a decade of flight experience and amazing engineering know-how, which makes him perfect for this role,” Whitson said of him.

According to

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