Axiom Space is gearing up for the launch of its second private crew to the International Space Station (ISS). The four astronauts will spend a little over a week conducting experiments within the orbital lab.
A Falcon 9 rocket will send up the crew inside a SpaceX Dragon capsule nicknamed Freedom. The rocket is scheduled to blast off Sunday at 5:37 p.m. ET from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Live coverage of the liftoff will begin at 5 p.m. ET on NASA’s website, as well as the agency’s YouTube channel, while Axiom Space will also broadcast it live through its website. You can tune in at the feed below.
The Dragon capsule is set to dock with the ISS Harmony module on Monday at 9:24 a.m., according to NASA.
The Axiom Mission 2, or Ax-2, crew includes Commander Peggy Whitson, a veteran NASA astronaut, Pilot John Shoffner, a space enthusiast who purchased a ticket for the mission in 2021, and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, members of Saudi Arabia’s first class of astronauts.
The crew will spend about eight days on board the space station, working alongside the ISS crew members. Ax-2 crew members will conduct a variety of scientific research and experiments, including one to examine the effects of microgravity on the production of stem cells.
Ax-2 is a follow up to Axiom Space’s first mission to the space station, which launched in April 2022. The private company is already planning for the launch of its third mission to the ISS, currently scheduled for later this year.