Axiom Space Ax-2 personal spaceflight: live updates


Day 1 to start: Ax-2 crew Aces dress rehearsal

Ax-2 astronauts pose for a group photo during SpaceX’s Paddle Launch Day dress rehearsal on May 19, 2023 at NASA’s Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is one day away from sending four private astronauts to the International Space Station for Axiom Space. And the X-2 mission crew is ready for launch.

On Friday, May 19, the Ax-2 astronauts — Commander Peggy Whitson (former NASA astronaut); Pilot John Shofner, paying customer; and Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali AlQarni; — A dress rehearsal for their planned launch Sunday from NASA’s Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The four astronauts donned their sleek SpaceX spacesuits and drove out to the pad in Tesla electric cars, where they boarded the Dragon capsule Freedom.

“We got to see our rocket up close today! And, yes, there are goosebumps of excitement!!” Whitson said on Twitter.

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Ax-2 is two days away from launch

The Axiom 2 (Ax-2) mission is scheduled to launch on May 21 at 5:37 pm EDT (2137 GMT) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The expedition crew cannot contain their excitement ahead of the eight-day journey to the International Space Station (ISS).

Crew Commander Peggy Whitson is the first woman to lead a private space mission, following two commands of the ISS as a NASA astronaut. He said at a press conference on Tuesday (May 16).

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The team included Saudi Arabian astronauts Rayana Barnawi and Ali Alkarni, private pilot John Shofner and Whitson. Alkarni plans to bring coffee and dates to the Saudis as he and Barnawai become the first two Saudi astronauts aboard the Orbital Complex. – Rob Lea

What to know about Axiom Space’s 2nd private ISS mission

Axiom Space still aims to launch its Ax-2 mission with SpaceX on Sunday (May 21) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Want to learn more about the mission? Here’s what you need to know about Ax-2 and how it fits into Axiom Space’s ambitious plans for Earth orbit.

read more: Meet the 4 astronauts of SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission to Axiom Space

The Ax-2 team shares their excitement over the upcoming release

Four astronauts aboard Axiom Space’s upcoming AX-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) held a virtual press conference on Tuesday (May 16) to discuss their upcoming space mission.

Ali Alkarni and Rayana Barnawi, members of Saudi Arabia’s first astronaut class, shared their excitement over being selected to represent their country as Ax-2 mission specialists send its first humans to the ISS. “We are truly honored and privileged to have you and be a part of this amazing mission,” Algarni said, adding that “he and Barnawi are very happy and excited for our mission and to represent Saudi Arabia on this journey.”

Meanwhile, Ax-2 pilot John Shofner shared, “To say I’m excited to be here would be a gross understatement.” This was Shoffner’s first space flight.

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Axiom Space’s Ax-2 mission is scheduled to launch on Sunday (May 21) at 5:37 pm EDT (2137 GMT) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch it live here, courtesy of NASA and SpaceX.

read more: Ax-2 private astronauts can’t wait for SpaceX’s May 21 launch to the space station
Related: Meet the 4 astronauts of SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission to Axiom Space

Axiom Space ‘Go’ AX-2 will be launched on May 21

At the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) conference on Monday (May 15), mission managers from NASA, SpaceX and Axiom Space said the upcoming Ax-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is currently on track to launch as planned. Sunday, May 21 at 5:37 PM EDT (2137 GMT).

“Today we had a review where we brought together team members from Axiom Space, SpaceX and NASA to talk about the upcoming mission, and at the end of that review, the entire team voted ‘Go,'” said Associate Ken Bowersachs. Administrator of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate.

The mission is the second private mission to the International Space Station. The first, Ax-1, launched on a SpaceX rocket in April 2022 and saw four private astronauts spend more than two weeks on the ISS.

read more: SpaceX is set to send the first Saudi woman into space aboard the private Ax-2 spacecraft

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