Two days before the launch of Ax-2
The Axiom 2 (Ax-2) mission is scheduled to launch at 5:37 p.m. EDT (2137 GMT) May 21 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. And the mission crew can barely contain their excitement as they approach the eight-day mission at international space station (ISS).
Crew Commander Peggy Whitson will be the first woman to lead a private space mission, following two ISS commands as a NASA astronaut. “We feel really ready to go. We still have some goals to achieve in the next few days, but we are so excited to go to space,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday 16 may.
The crew includes Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni, private pilot John Shoffner and Whitson. Alqarni plans to bring Saudi coffee and dates as he and Barnawai become the first two Saudi astronauts on the orbiting complex. — Rob Lea
What to know about Axiom Space’s 2nd private mission to the ISS
Axiom Space is still aiming to launch its Ax-2 mission with SpaceX on Sunday, May 21 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Want to know more about the mission? Here’s what you need to know about Ax-2 and how it fits into Axiom spaceambitious plans for Earth orbit.
Learn more: Meet the 4 astronauts of SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission for Axiom Space
The Ax-2 crew shares their excitement for the upcoming launch
The four astronauts who will launch on Axiom Space’s upcoming Ax-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) held a virtual press conference Tuesday, May 16 to discuss their impending spaceflight.
Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, AX-2 mission specialists members of Saudi Arabia’s first astronaut class, shared their excitement at being chosen to represent their nation as it sends its first humans to the ISS. “We are truly honored and privileged to have you and to be part of this incredible mission,” Alqarni said, adding that he and Barnawi “are truly thrilled and excited for our mission and representing Saudi Arabia on this journey.”
Axe-2 pilot John Shoffner, meanwhile, shared that “To say I am delighted to be here would be a gross understatement.” This will be Shoffner’s first trip to space.
Axiom Space’s Ax-2 mission is scheduled to lift off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, May 21 at 5:37 p.m. EDT (2137 GMT) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch it live here courtesy of NASA and SpaceX.
Learn more: Astronauts deprived of Ax-2 can’t wait for their May 21 SpaceX launch to the space station
Related: Meet the 4 astronauts of SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission for Axiom Space
Axiom Space ‘Go’ for Ax-2 launch May 21
At a Flight Readiness Conference (FRR) held Monday, May 15, mission managers from NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom Space said the upcoming Ax-2 mission to the Space Station (ISS) is currently on track to launch as scheduled at 5:37 p.m. EDT (21:37 GMT) on Sunday, May 21.
“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 this review, the entire team sounded ‘come on,'” said Ken Bowersox, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate.
The mission will be the second fully private mission in international space station. The first one, Axe-1launched in April 2022 atop a SpaceX rocket and saw four private astronauts spend more than two weeks aboard the ISS.
Learn more: SpaceX will launch the 1st Saudi woman into space on the Ax-2 private mission