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NASA Coverage for Private Astronaut Axiom Mission 1 Departure From Space Station

This artist’s concept shows a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX

NASA will provide live coverage of the undocking and departure of the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) in the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft prior to its return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS).

The four-member private astronaut crew is scheduled to undock from the space station at 6:35 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 23, to begin the journey home, with splashdown off the coast of Florida targeted for about 1:46 p.m. Sunday, April 24. The integrated teams at Axiom Space, NASA, and SpaceX have agreed on the adjusted return plan based on the weather for splashdown of the first private astronaut mission to visit the orbital laboratory and the return trajectory required to bring the crew and the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft back to Earth safely.

Teams will monitor the weather at the splashdown sites prior to undocking to ensure conditions are acceptable for a safe recovery of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Ax-1 astronauts.

SpaceX Dragon Endeavour Crew Ship Docked to ISS Harmony Module

The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour crew ship is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter. Endeavour carried four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Pilot Larry Connor, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy, to the International Space Station for several days of research, education, and commercial activities. Credit: NASA

NASA and Axiom Space will begin coverage at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, April 23, with coverage of hatch closure preparations, which will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, the agency’s website, and the company’s website.

Ax-1 Commander Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Larry Connor, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy will complete 16 days in space at the conclusion of their mission. SpaceX Dragon Endeavour, the Ax-1 spacecraft, will return to Earth with more than 200 pounds of science and supplies, including NASA experiments and hardware.

NASA Ax-1 return coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Saturday, April 23

  • 4:15 p.m.– Coverage begins for 4:30 p.m. hatch closure
  • 6:15 p.m. – Coverage begins for 6:35 p.m. undocking

NASA coverage will break between the events above , and undocking coverage will end approximately 30 minutes after undocking when joint operations with the Axiom and SpaceX mission teams ends.

Axiom Space will resume coverage of Dragon’s re-entry and splashdown beginning at 12:45 p.m. Sunday, April 24, on the company’s website.

The Ax-1 mission represents both a culmination of NASA’s efforts to foster a commercial market in low-Earth orbit and the beginning of a new era of space exploration that enables more people to fly on more kinds of missions. This partnership is changing the arc of human spaceflight history by opening access to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities.

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