Ax-3 mission concludes as SpaceX Dragon heads home with astronauts and science aboard, aiming for a Florida coast return.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft undocked from the space-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 9:20 a.m. EST over the Pacific Ocean, west of Ecuador, to complete the third all-private astronaut mission to the orbiting laboratory, Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3).
Dragon is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return the astronaut crew and its cargo safely to Earth, targeting a splashdown off the coast of Daytona, Florida, at approximately 8:30 a.m. EST Friday, February 9.
Ax-3 astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Marcus Wandt, and Alper Gezeravci will complete 18 days aboard the orbiting laboratory at the conclusion of their mission. The SpaceX Dragon will return to Earth with more than 550 pounds of science and supplies, including NASA experiments and hardware.
Joint operations with the Axiom and SpaceX mission teams end and NASA coverage of the mission concludes when the spacecraft exits the area of the space station, approximately 30 minutes after undocking.
Axiom Space leads independent mission operations for Ax-3 and will resume coverage of Dragon’s re-entry and splashdown.
Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) marked the third all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), orchestrated by SpaceX and Axiom Space. The mission featured a crew of four: Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Marcus Wandt, and Alper Gezeravci, who spent 18 days in orbit conducting scientific research and experiments.
Ax-3 not only demonstrated the expanding capabilities of private space exploration but also contributed valuable scientific data to Earth-based researchers, showcasing the collaborative potential between governmental and private entities in the realm of space travel and research.