The departure from the ISS of the private mission Ax-1 postponed to Tuesday evening


The first-ever fully private crewed mission to the International Space Station will spend an additional 12 hours aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The four astronauts on Ax-1, a mission organized by Houston-based company Axiom Space, were scheduled to depart the station in their SpaceX Dragon capsule at 10:35 a.m. EDT (2:35 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday, April 19, and splash down the coast of the Florida early Wednesday morning (April 20).

But bad weather is expected in the splash zone at that time, so Ax-1’s return to Earth was delayed for half a day.

“Weather permitting, the four-member private astronaut crew is now scheduled to undock around 10 p.m. [EDT] Tuesday, April 19, to begin the return journey with a splash off the coast of Florida no earlier than around 3:24 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 20,” NASA officials said. written in an update Monday (April 18).

SpaceX Ax-1 Private Mission to Space Station: Live Updates

Ax-1 launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on April 8 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The mission is commanded by Michael López-Alegría, an Axiom employee and former NASA astronaut.

The other three crew members are Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe, who each reportedly paid around $55 million for their seat.

Ax-1 will be just the beginning for Axiom Space, if all goes according to plan. The company has booked several more crewed missions to the space station with SpaceX. And, from the end of 2024, Axiom plans to launch several modules to the ISS. These modules will eventually detach, becoming an independent private space station in Earth orbit.

Ax-1 will arrive at a busy time for SpaceX. Elon Musk’s company is preparing to launch a big batch of its Starlink internet satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which sits next to KSC, on Thursday (April 21).

And on Saturday, April 23, SpaceX plans to launch the Crew-4 mission for NASA from KSC. Crew-4 will send three NASA astronauts and a European spacecraft to the ISS for an extended stay.

Mike Wall is the author of “The low(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom Or on Facebook.

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