NASA said four private astronauts docked at the International Space Station after a successful launch of Axiom Mission 2.
This is the second all private astronaut mission to the ISS. They lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 5:37 p.m. Sunday.
NASA said a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the company’s Dragon spacecraft carrying Ax-2 crew members Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner, and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi into orbit. Their mission is to conduct scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities on the space station.
It’s an honor to be here,” Astronaut John Shoffner said. “I’ve been working toward this since I was eight.”
He also thanked NASA for supporting private flights to space.
With big smiles on their faces, the astronauts encouraged people to dream big. Some of the astronauts are from Saudi Arabia, and they said they were proud to represent their country.
Below is video of the welcome ceremony for the astronauts in outer space.
#Ax2 has arrived! The @SpaceX Dragon crew ship with four private astronauts from @Axiom_Space docked to the station at 9:12am ET today. They will enter the orbital outpost soon live on @NASA TV. https://t.co/sakzLf25b7— International Space Station (@Space_Station) May 22, 2023
“Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom Mission 2 crew on a successful launch! During their time aboard the International Space Station, the Ax-2 astronauts will carry out more than 20 scientific experiments, helping us better understand space radiation, weather in low-gravity conditions, and more,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This mission is more proof of NASA’s commitment to help our industry partners develop the next generation of space technology and a support a growing commercial space economy.”
NASA said they will be providing live coverage of SpaceX Dragon docking, hatch opening, and a ceremony to welcome the crew on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 6:30 a.m. Houston time Monday.
Axiom Space astronauts are expected to depart the space station May 30, pending weather.