The first special mission for the space station will finally come home

Enlargement / On April 15, Crew Dragon Endeavor was filmed with the Harmony module’s own space-facing international docking adapter.

NASA

The spacecraft is called Crew Dragon Hae It left the International Space Station on Sunday night, paving the way for four special astronauts to return to Earth.

Slowly retreating from the orbiting laboratory, Endeavor is now able to perform orbital combustion on Monday, pushing it into Earth’s atmosphere. After a short, fiery flight through the atmosphere, the spacecraft takes off off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida at 13.06 ET (17.06 UTC).

After landing, Ax-1 Operation Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, pilot Larry Connor, and mission expert Eitan Stipe and Mark Pathy have spent 17 days in space since the launch on April 8th. It docked at the space station, but the mission was eventually resumed for a week due to bad weather in Dragon landing areas around Florida.

Axiom Space competed for the opportunity to send this manned mission to the space station and is planning new “special astronaut missions” in the future as space becomes available according to the station’s busy schedule. Axiom reimburses NASA for the use of food, water, air and other natural resources by visiting astronauts. However, as part of the company’s contract with NASA, Axiom is not responsible for the additional resources that will be consumed during long stays.

NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom conducted joint operations during this time Hae Docked to the space station. However, after about 30 minutes of docking, the space agency said its involvement in the mission will end and all landing and return operations will be left to SpaceX and Axiom.

Each of the private astronauts paid $ 55 million for their trip to and accommodation at the space station. The space station has been visited by a few private astronauts over the past two decades, but the Russian government has completed these missions and active astronauts have led the flights.

Axiom plans to send up to two special missions each year to prepare to build its own unit that will join the International Space Station in 2024. The company is at the forefront of U.S. companies trying to develop commercial opportunities in the low-Earth orbit. Initial demand for axiom flights shows that there is significant interest in the country’s orbit for specific human activities – from tourism to sports and production – but doubts about the long-term viability of such plans without significant funding from NASA.

One thing seems clear: private orbit space flight is very different. Prior to launching Operation Ax-1, the company and private astronauts said their flight was primarily to conduct scientific research. About an hour after its launch, however, Axiom Space announced the creation of a non-exchangeable branded marketplace for the sale of digital products.

NASA, meanwhile, is eager to bring the Axiom astronauts back to Earth as the four professional astronauts traveling in the Crew-4 mission are ready to take off in Florida. Three NASA astronauts and an Italian crew launch a new Dragon capsule, freedomalready on wednesday.

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