Axiom Flight To ISS Slips To April 8
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.