KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — SpaceX successfully launched Axiom Space's first all-private human crewed spaceflight to the International Space Station Friday morning. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 11:17 a.m. EDT from the Kennedy Space Center

  • The crew of the Ax-1 will be conducting experiments and research

  • Scroll down to re-watch the launch

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 11:17 a.m. from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. 

The Falcon 9 rocket, which has been used before in other missions like the Inspiration4 that sent the first all-civilian crew into orbit, had its first-stage booster land on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, minutes after the launch.

The Dragon spacecraft carrying the human crew for the Ax-1 mission has been used before. It has flown the crew members of the Demo-2 and the Crew 2 missions.

SpaceX explained that the purpose of the Ax-1 mission is for the crew members to conduct “educational outreach” and research experiments.

“The Ax-1 crew will conduct extensive research and STEM outreach. Their efforts align with how each philanthropist carries out his work at home, in service to all on Earth and to all who follow them beyond it,” Axiom Space stated.

The Ax-1 crew will be on board the ISS for eight days and the company stated that this is the first private space mission by a company.

If all goes as expected, Ax-1 will dock with the International Space Station at about 7:30 p.m. or 7:45 p.m. Saturday.

About Axiom Space

Based in Texas, Axiom Space’s business plan is to provide commercial spaceflight for people, researchers, manufacturers and government agencies to the ISS and eventually to its very own space station, which the construction is set to start in 2024.

The company also provides astronaut candidate selection and training.

“We utilize our singular human spaceflight engineering, training, operations, and program management expertise to help governments build human spaceflight programs and fly their astronauts on missions to space. These programs promote the growth of high-tech industries, stimulate the economy, inspire youth to pursue STEM education, and are a source of national pride and international respect,” the company stated on its website.  

Meet the Ax-1 crew

Axiom Space is a company made up of past astronauts, engineers and even a former NASA administrator, Charlie Bolden.

So it should not come as a surprise that the company’s vice president of business development is former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, who is leading the Ax-1 mission as its commander.

Larry Connor, listed as an entrepreneur and non-profit activist investor, is the mission’s pilot.

The mission specialists are Eytan Stibbe, an impact investor and philanthropist, and Mark Pathy, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist.

Watch the launch live


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