Axiom Space’s private crew has splashed down to Earth from the ISS, watch it live.
On January 16, 2022, history was made as the first-ever private crew to visit the International Space Station (ISS) returned to Earth. The four-member crew, consisting of Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe, spent eight days aboard the ISS as part of the Ax-1 mission organized by Axiom Space.
The crew’s journey began on January 8, 2022, when they launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The mission was a significant milestone for the commercial space industry, as it marked the first time a private company had sent a crew to the ISS.
During their time on the ISS, the Ax-1 crew conducted a range of scientific experiments and research projects, including studying the effects of microgravity on the human body and testing new technologies for space exploration. They also had the opportunity to speak with students and educators on Earth, sharing their experiences and insights about life in space.
After spending eight days in orbit, the Ax-1 crew began their journey back to Earth on January 15, 2022. The Crew Dragon spacecraft undocked from the ISS and began its descent towards Earth, traveling at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour.
As the spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, it experienced temperatures of up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, protected by its heat shield. The crew then deployed parachutes to slow their descent and landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
The splashdown was broadcast live on NASA TV, with viewers around the world tuning in to watch the historic moment. The crew was quickly recovered by a SpaceX recovery team and transported back to shore for medical evaluations.
The success of the Ax-1 mission represents a significant step forward for the commercial space industry, demonstrating the potential for private companies to play a greater role in space exploration and research. It also highlights the importance of international cooperation in space, as the Ax-1 crew worked alongside their counterparts from NASA and other space agencies to achieve their goals.
Looking ahead, Axiom Space has plans to launch additional private missions to the ISS in the coming years, with the goal of eventually building its own commercial space station in orbit. As the commercial space industry continues to evolve and grow, it is clear that the possibilities for space exploration and research are truly limitless.