The four astronauts on the special Ax-3 mission will depart the International Space Station in their SpaceX Dragon capsule no later than Monday (February 5), and you can watch the event live.
Ax-3's Crew Dragon “Freedom” ship was scheduled to detach from the orbiting laboratory on Saturday (February 3) at 6:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT). However, bad weather in Freedom's splash zone – the ocean off the coast of Florida – scuppered this plan; The docking will now be canceled no later than Monday.
When departure happens, you can watch live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA, OR Directly through the agency.
Related: Live updates from the private astronaut Ax-3 mission
Ax-3 is the third crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS) organized by Houston-based Axiom Space, following similar efforts in April 2022 and May 2023.
The Ax-3 launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on January 18, sending four crew members aloft. They are Ax-3 commander Michael Lopez Alegría, a former NASA astronaut who is now chief astronaut at Axiom Space; Pilot Walter Velade, Colonel of the Italian Air Force; Mission Specialist Alper Geziravci, the first ever Turkish astronaut; and mission specialist Markus Wandt, a reserve astronaut with ESA.
Lopez Alegría holds dual US and Spanish citizenship, so Axiom Space's Ax-3 is the first all-European manned mission to the International Space Station.
Ax-3 is the first orbital mission for Villadei, Gezeravcı and Wandt (although Villadei went to suborbital space with Virgin Galactic last year). By contrast, López Alegría is an expert at this; Ax-3 is its sixth orbital flight. One of his previous missions was the Ax-1 in 2022, so he is the first person ever to fly on a Dragon capsule twice.
The Ax-3 quartet performed more than 30 different scientific experiments during their time in orbit, including work in physics and space medicine. Company representatives said some of their research will help Axiom Space improve its training programs ahead of future missions.
While the Ax-3 is nearing completion, SpaceX is preparing for another astronaut flight: NASA's Crew-8 mission, which will send four astronauts to the International Space Station for a stay of about six months. Crew-8 is currently scheduled to launch on February 22.
Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:10 a.m. EDT on February 3 with news of the undocking delay.
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