Ax-1 Mission Launches Successfully; 4 Private Astronauts En Route to Space Station

Ax-1 crew prior to launch. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Axiom Space PR) — Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the world’s first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), launched Friday. The four-person multi-national crew of Ax-1 is now in orbit following an 11:17 a.m. EDT liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  

The crew is traveling aboard SpaceX’s Dragon Endeavor spacecraft, which was launched by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon Endeavour is anticipated to dock to the space-facing port of the ISS Harmony module around 7:45 a.m. Saturday, April 9. A live webcast on axiomspace.com will begin at 5:30 a.m. for the approach initiation burn. 

The Ax-1 crew includes Commander Michael López-Alegría of Spain and the United States, Pilot Larry Connor of the United States, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe of Israel and Mark Pathy of Canada.  

During their 10-day mission, the crew members will spend eight days on the ISS conducting more than 25 scientific research and technology demonstrations. This robust portfolio opens more opportunities to scientists and researchers around the globe and will provide vital data in preparation for Axiom Station, the world’s first commercial space station.  

“I first want to congratulate Michael, Larry, Eytan, and Mark. We will usher in a new era in private human spaceflight when they cross the threshold to enter the ISS,” said Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space. “This journey is the culmination of long hours of training, planning, and dedication from the crew and the entire Axiom Space team, our partners at SpaceX, and of course, a credit to NASA’s vision to develop a sustainable presence in low-Earth orbit.” 

NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) astronauts and Roscosmos cosmonauts already aboard the space station will welcome the Ax-1 crew after docking.  

“What a historic launch! Thank you to the dedicated teams at NASA who have worked tirelessly to make this mission a reality,” said Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA’s partnership with industry through the commercial cargo and crew programs has led our nation to this new era in human spaceflight — one with limitless potential. Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom-1 crew for making this first private mission to the International Space Station a reality.” 

Follow along for mission updates with #Ax1 on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, and on our website.  

About Axiom Space 

Axiom Space is guided by the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human, everywhere. The leading provider of human spaceflight services and developer of human-rated space infrastructure, Axiom operates end-to-end missions to the International Space Station today while privately developing its successor – a permanent commercial destination in Earth’s orbit that will sustain human growth off the planet and bring untold benefits back home. More information about Axiom can be found at www.axiomspace.com.