Axiom Flight To ISS Slips To April 8

Ax-1 crew from left, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, Eytan Stibbe and Michael López-Alegría.
Credit: SpaceX

COLORADO SPRINGS—Launch of the privately funded Axiom Space-1 (Ax-1) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was delayed to no earlier than April 8, leaving little margin for Axiom’s planned 10-day excursion before NASA puts priority on launching the next resident station crew.

SpaceX is providing the transportation services for both the Ax-1 charter and NASA’s Crew-4 missions. 

SpaceX now plans to roll out the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule to Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A on April 5. That would be followed on April 6 by a practice countdown with the Ax-1 crew and a static fire test.

The Axiom launch schedule also is impacted by NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) operations at the adjacent pad, 39B. NASA had hoped to complete a tanking test of its new Moon rocket on April 3, but rescheduled the wet dress rehearsal for April 4 after an equipment problem with the rocket’s mobile launcher surfaced.

Launch of the Ax-1 crew, previously scheduled for April 6, is now targeted for 11:17 a.m. EDT on April 8, with docking at the ISS at about 7:30 a.m. on April 9. 

Ax-1 is the first U.S.-backed private astronaut mission to the ISS. It is commanded by Michael Lopez-Alegria, a veteran NASA astronaut and former ISS commander who now works at Axiom. Lopez-Alegria will be joined by three paying passengers: Larry Connor, a Dayton, Ohio-based real estate and technology entrepreneur; Mark Pathy,  chairman and CEO of Mavrik, a Montreal- based investment firm; and Israeli entrepreneur Eytan Stibbe, the founding partner of Vital Capital, an impact investment company that focuses on developing countries.

Irene Klotz

Irene Klotz is Senior Space Editor for Aviation Week, based in Cape Canaveral. Before joining Aviation Week in 2017, Irene spent 25 years as a wire service reporter covering human and robotic spaceflight, commercial space, astronomy, science and technology for Reuters and United Press International.