With a crew of four, including the first Turkish astronaut, Axiom Space's Mission 3 arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this morning for a two-week stay. The Texas-based company's space flight was paid for entirely by private funders.
About 37 hours after its launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday evening, the Axiom quadcraft arrived at the International Space Station. The Crew Dragon ship and the Falcon 9 rocket that carried Mission 3 into orbit were delivered, launched and operated by Elon Musk's SpaceX, as were the first two Axiom missions to the International Space Station since 2022. Once at the space station, the NASA Mission Control in Houston.
Pressurized crew capsule
Now that docking has been completed, it is expected to take about two hours for the sealed passage between the space station and the crew capsule to be pressurized and checked for leaks before the hatches can be opened. The newly arrived astronauts can then move aboard the orbiting laboratory.
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According to plans, the Axiom-3 crew will spend approximately fourteen days in microgravity and conduct more than 30 scientific experiments, many of which focus on the effects of spaceflight on human health and disease. The multinational team is led by Michael Lopez Alegría, 65, a Spanish-born retired NASA astronaut and Axiom director who made his sixth trip to the space station. He also took command of the first Axiom mission in April 2022.
Foreign governments and wealthy individuals
Since its founding eight years ago, Houston-based Axiom has built a business that caters to foreign governments and wealthy private clients looking to send their own astronauts into orbit. The company charges at least $55 million per seat for its services in organizing, training and preparing customers for spaceflight.
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Axiom is also one of a few companies building its own commercial space station, which is intended to eventually replace the International Space Station, which NASA expects to retire around 2030. The International Space Station was launched into orbit in 1998 and has been continuously manned since 2000 under a US-Russian-led partnership that includes Canada, Japan and eleven countries of the European Space Agency.
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