During a press conference on April 6, NASA, SpaceX, and Michael Suffredini, CEO and President of Axiom Space, announced that the Axiom 2 Mission (Ax-2) it’s targeting no earlier than May 10, 2023, to reach International Space Station.
ALERT 🚨The #Ax2 mission is targeting no earlier than May 8 at 10:43 pm ET for the launch to the @Space_Station. Launching from @NASAKennedy, our multinational crew will fly on a @SpaceX Dragon to the station for their 12-day space mission. pic.twitter.com/ymW1G8lcDZ— Axiom Space (@Axiom_Space) April 6, 2023
The four passengers will arrive at the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon Capsule called Freedom that will be launched from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Florida on May 8, 2023.
It will be the second flight for Freedom C212 capsule as it already flew in 2022 with Crew-4 Mission to the ISS with Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Samantha Cristoforetti, and Jessica Watkins. Instead, it will be the first flight for this brand new Falcon 9 first stage, designated B1080.
“The crew is quite experienced. They have been training for some time. Both Commander Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner were backups to the Ax-1 mission,”–Michael Suffredini, CEO and President of Axiom Space
The duration of the mission is around 12 days in orbit, during which the crew members will conduct a series of experiments.
New Goals for Women
Astronaut Rayyanah Barnawi will be the first woman to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in space. On Ax-2 she will be a mission specialist. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from Otago University in New Zealand, and a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences from Alfaisal University in Saudi Arabia. She’s a research laboratory technician with years of experience in breast cancer and cancer stem-cell research.
Another huge success of this mission is for Peggy Whitson who count over 37 years of NASA experience. As she will be the first female commander of a private space mission.
“Space is really changing right now, and I’m really excited to be a part of expanding humanity’s access to this amazing frontier,”–Peggy Whitson, former NASA astronaut
As Michael Suffredini, CEO and President of Axiom Space, said it will be a STEM Mission. The Crew will do more than 20 experiments in Life Science, Human Research, Physical Science, STEM, and Technology Demonstration.
Collecting data in space will help to understand the human physiology on Earth. Indeed, the aim of some experiments will be to investigate a range of tumor-organ studies to try to predict and prevent breast cancer in collaboration with the Stanford Stem Cell Institute.
Another Life Science experiment will be in collaboration with the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute. NASA funded the In Space Production Applications project and Axiom Space is contributing to it. It consists of studying the effect of microgravity during the process of producing stem cell products in space. Regenerative medicine could provide benefits to people on Earth.
In space, communications with mission control and loved ones on the ground are always very complicated. As part of the Technology Demonstration experiments, the Ax-2 Crew will test an alternative way of Communications System using a special type of mobile device. If this new system will work it can allow astronauts to communicate more easily with Earth.