SpaceX launches private astronauts to the Space Station on Axiom-1 mission

Axiom’s customer missions go beyond what suborbital tourist missions like New Shepard can offer. Riding in a SpaceX Dragon capsule, the Ax-1 crew is now on its way to the International Space Station after an on-time liftoff at 11:17 a.m. ET on Friday, April 8.

Leading up to today’s launch the weather wasn’t looking terribly positive. While the weather at the launch site looked good, the ascent corridor, upper-level winds, and booster recovery weather (not factored into the probability of violating constraints, but can impact launch) did not, each being rated as a “moderate” risk over the past few days.

However, on the morning of the launch, the weather along the ascent corridor was acceptable.

Just after 7 a.m. ET the crew drove by the press site, on their way for the hand-off to SpaceX ahead of launch.

Axiom-1 crew in Tesla Model Xs, on their way to LC-39A. Credit Derek Wise and Jared Locke / Space Explored

After weather brief and suit donning, the crew was driven to the launchpad and entered the Crew Dragon capsule at about two and a half hours to launch.

Fueling began at 10:42 a.m. ET, T-35 minutes, in preparation for an on-time liftoff from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center eleven seconds after the minute at 11:17 a.m.

The crew now has a 20 hour journey to the International Space Station.

The journey will include a planned sleep period, three meals, and an in-flight live stream – in addition to the burns as Dragon approaches the space station. You can check out Axiom’s timeline of in-flight events here.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon Endeavour inflight. Credit: Derek Wise, Jared Sanders, and Jared Locke / Space Explored

The mission is being led by commander Michael López-Alegría, an Axiom Space VP and Astronaut who flew on both the Space Shuttle and Soyuz. He is joined by three customers: Larry Conner, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy. Conner is serving as the mission pilot while Stibbe and Pathy are mission specialists.

Featured Image: Jared Locke / Space Explored

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