One Day Ever: Ax Squad 2 Aces
SpaceX is a day away from launching four private astronauts to the International Space Station for Axiom Space, and the Ax-2 mission crew is more than ready for launch.
On Friday, May 19, the Ax-2 astronauts – Commander Peggy Whitson (ex-NASA astronaut); pilot John Shoffner, a paying customer; And Saudi astronauts Rayana Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni. – conducted a rehearsal for its scheduled launch Sunday from NASA’s Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The four astronauts donned their stylish SpaceX spacesuits and took to the podium in their Tesla electric cars, climbing inside the Dragon Freedom capsule.
“We saw our rocket up close today! And yes, there is a shiver of excitement!!” Whitson said on Twitter.
Teams completed full rehearsal for launch day activities with the Axiom_Space Ax-2 crew pic.twitter.com/0xhqrf0SwLMay 19, 2023
Two days until the launch of the Ax-2
The Axiom 2 (Ax-2) mission is scheduled to launch at 5:37 PM EST (2137 GMT) on May 21 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The mission crew can hardly contain their excitement before the mission That takes eight days to the International Space Station (ISS).
Crew Leader Peggy Whitson will be the first woman to command a private space mission, following two orders from the International Space Station as a NASA astronaut. “We really feel like we’re ready to go,” she said in a press conference Tuesday (May 16). “We have a few more goals to meet in the next few days, but we’re really excited about getting into space.”
The crew includes Saudi astronauts Rayana Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni, and private pilot John Shoffner and Whitson. Al-Qarni plans to bring Saudi coffee and dates as he and Barnawi become the first Saudi astronauts in the orbital complex. – Rob Lea
What to know about Axiom Space’s second private mission to the International Space Station
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 Space’s ambitious plans for Earth orbit.
Read more: Meet the four astronauts on SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission for Axiom Space
The Ax-2 crew shares excitement about the upcoming launch
The four astronauts who will launch on Axiom Space’s next mission to the International Space Station (ISS) held a virtual press conference on Tuesday (May 16) to discuss their impending spaceflights.
Ali Al-Qarni and Rayana Barnawi, Ax-2 mission specialists who are members of Saudi Arabia’s first class of astronauts, shared their excitement at being chosen to represent their country as it sends its first humans to the International Space Station. “We are honored and privileged to have you guys and be a part of this amazing mission,” Al-Qarni said, adding that he and Barnawi are “thrilled and excited about our mission and representing Saudi Arabia on this journey.”
Meanwhile, Ax-2 pilot John Shoffner shared, “To say I’m excited to be here would be a massive understatement.” This will be Shoffner’s first trip to space.
Axiom Space’s Ax-2 mission is scheduled to lift off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Sunday (May 21) at 5:37 p.m. EST (2137 GMT) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch it live here courtesy of NASA and SpaceX.
Read more: Private Ax-2 astronauts can’t wait for SpaceX’s May 21 launch to the space station
Related: Meet the four astronauts on SpaceX’s Ax-2 mission for Axiom Space
Axiom Space ‘Go’ to launch Ax-2 on May 21st
At the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) conference held Monday (May 15), mission managers from NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom Space said the next Ax-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is currently on track for launch as scheduled in 5:37 PM EST (2137 GMT) on Sunday, May 21.
“Today we ran a review where we brought together members of the Axiom Space team, SpaceX and NASA to talk about the upcoming mission, and at the end of that review the whole team polled Go,” said Ken Powerzox, associate director of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate.
The mission will be the second ever private mission to the International Space Station. The first, Ax-1, launched in April 2022 aboard a SpaceX rocket and saw four private astronauts spend more than two weeks aboard the International Space Station.
Read more: SpaceX launches the first Saudi woman into space on a special Ax-2 mission
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