[UPDATED] AX-3 Mission Successfully concluded The Axiom Space’s Longest Private Spaceflight

10th Nov 2023
[UPDATED] AX-3 Mission Successfully concluded The Axiom Space’s Longest Private Spaceflight

Axiom Mission 3, the first all-European commercial astronaut mission to the International Space Station, is planned for 17th January 2024. Ax-3 will be carried out by Axiom Space using the Crew Dragon spacecraft and will last about 14 days.

As stated on the mission’s website, “Ax-3 redefines the pathway to low-Earth orbit for nations around the globe”. Moreover, “this mission marks a new era of opportunity for countries to join the international space community and access low-Earth orbit to advance exploration and research in microgravity”.

Update 9th February

On Friday, 9th February, a Crew Dragon capsule transporting four astronauts of the AX-3 Mission safely landed in the Atlantic Ocean. This concluded Axiom Space’s unprecedented private journey to the International Space Station.

Ax-3’s Crew Dragon Freedom executed a flawless morning landing off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida, deploying four main parachutes at approximately 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT).

This three-week mission marks the longest private flight for Axiom Space conducted by SpaceX since the missions commenced in 2022.

Update 7th February

The Dragon Freedom vehicle has successfully undocked from the ISS at 9:25 a. m. ET today. It will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and splash down off the coast of Florida on Friday, 9th February, stated SpaceX on X (former Twitter).

Initially, SpaceX had planned to undock the Dragon from the International Space Station on Tuesday morning, 6th February, marking the start of the crew’s return to Earth. However, the evening before their scheduled departure, both NASA and SpaceX announced that the weather conditions were deemed unsafe for the crew’s splashdown. So, the undocking was moved for the 7th February.

Update 5th February

NASA, Axiom Space, and SpaceX aim for the undocking of Axiom Mission 3 from the International Space Station at no earlier than 9:05 a.m. EST on Tuesday, the 6th February. This decision follows a recent assessment of weather conditions off the coast of Florida.

NASA will offer live coverage of the joint operations between the space station, Axiom Space, and SpaceX. The broadcast will commence at 7 a.m., focusing on preparations for hatch closure. NASA’s live coverage of the undocking process will recommence at 8:45 a.m.

Viewers can access the coverage on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s official website.

NASA’s coverage will conclude approximately 30 minutes after the undocking.

Update 19th January

SpaceX successfully launched the Axiom-3 mission on Thursday, 18th January. The Falcon 9 rocket took off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:49 p.m. EST (2149 GMT). The rocket propelled the Crew Dragon spacecraft Freedom into orbit.

Approximately 12 minutes after liftoff, Freedom detached from the rocket’s upper stage, initiating the capsule’s approximately 36-hour orbital voyage journey to reach and dock with the International Space Station (ISS).

Freedom is set to rendezvous with the space station in the early hours of Saturday morning, 20th January. The docking is planned for approximately 5:15 a.m. EST (1015 GMT) with the Harmony module.

Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on the Ax-3 mission
The Falcon 9 rocket successfully launches on 18th January. Image Credit: SpaceX

Update: 18th January

Axiom Mission 3 launch is rescheduled for Thursday, 18th January, wrote Space X on X (former Twitter). The live webcast starts at 2:40 PM ET.

“The additional time allows teams to complete pre-launch checkouts and data analysis on the vehicle”, they added.

Update 17th January: Where to watch the liftoff online

SpaceX and Axiom Space will present a live webcast of the launch starting at 3:15 p.m. EST (2015 GMT). These webcasts will be available on the Axiom Space YouTube channel and the SpaceX X account (formerly Twitter).


Also, NASA’s livestream will be available on NASA TV and NASA+. The agency plans to start the SpaceX/Axiom Space program at 3:15 p.m. EST and will join the ongoing coverage at 4:15 p.m. EST (2115 GMT). NASA’s launch coverage will conclude approximately 15 minutes after the spacecraft liftoff.

Update 26th December: Ax-3 launch date

SpaceX’s launch of Axiom Space’s third private astronaut mission, Ax-3, has been postponed from 9th January to 17th January 2024. 

NASA attributed the delay to adverse weather conditions and adjustments in SpaceX’s launch schedule, as said on the agency’s post on X (former Twitter).

The liftoff, utilizing a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, is set to take place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will propel four astronauts toward the International Space Station in a Dragon capsule.

What countries will participate in the flight?

In a historic collaboration, Italy, Türkiye, and Sweden, facilitated by the European Space Agency (ESA), have co for theme together for the Ax-3 initiative. As part of this groundbreaking project, Türkiye is set to launch its inaugural astronaut into space as it marks a significant step in expanding the country’s capabilities in space exploration and establishes a dedicated national human spaceflight program. Notably, Ax-3 will also be the inaugural commercial spaceflight mission for an astronaut sponsored by the ESA. For Italy, the Ax-3 mission embodies a comprehensive national effort aimed at advancing its pursuit of safe, secure, and efficient access to space.

Meet the Ax-3 crew

Axiom Mission 3 starts in January 2023: meet the crew

The Ax-3 mission will be led by Axiom Space’s Chief Astronaut, Michael López-Alegría, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Spain and former NASA astronaut. López-Alegría, who previously commanded Axiom Mission 1. Assisting him is Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei, serving as the pilot. The mission specialists are Alper Gezeravcı from Türkiye and European Space Agency (ESA) project astronaut Marcus Wandt from Sweden.

What are the primary objectives of Ax-3?

Once successfully attached to the space station, the Ax-3 astronauts have scheduled a comprehensive 14-day mission including microgravity research, educational outreach, and commercial ventures. Onboard, they plan to execute over 30 distinct experiments, generating valuable data that will contribute to our comprehension of human physiology both on Earth and in orbit. This research aims to propel scientific understanding forward, unlock opportunities for industrial advancements, and foster the development of technologies crucial for humanity’s progress.

Also, in collaboration with various scientific organizations, Axiom Space is dedicated to expanding our knowledge of the impact of spaceflight on the human body. Additionally, they are exploring avenues for applied research in space, seeking to derive benefits for health and medical treatments on Earth.

The Axiom Space mission places significant emphasis on fostering both commercial and academic partnerships. Thus, the company takes the lead in constructing a worldwide research community and cultivating a resilient, sustainable economic ecosystem in low-Earth orbit (LEO).

The liftoff is scheduled from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, no earlier than January 2024. No doubt, the upcoming Ax-3 mission marks a pivotal moment in space exploration.

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