February 26, 2024


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Axiom-3 is ready to send a multinational crew to the International Space Station

Axiom-3 is ready to send a multinational crew to the International Space Station

A special Axiom-3 mission to the International Space Station is now being prepared for launch from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center. The mission includes a crew representing five different countries, four of which are entirely or partly in Europe.

Falcon 9 B1080-5 and Crew Dragon C212 freedom It is scheduled to launch from Pad 39A at 5:11 PM EDT (22:11 UTC) on Wednesday, January 17. This flight will be the first manned space mission of 2024, and it will be lifted onto a rendezvous and docking path. With the International Space Station. With the launch on time, docking takes place in the forward port of harmony The module will be held on Friday, January 19, at 5:15 AM EST (10:15 UTC).

After the second stage of separation, B1080-5 will return to the concrete pad at Landing Zone 1, to conduct a Return to Launch Site (RTLS) landing. The recent introduction of RTLS landings for Crew Dragon missions helps reduce the use of naval assets, particularly unmanned ships Just read the instructions Undergoing work in Charleston, South Carolina.

During the Crew Dragon's ascent phase, there are several abort zones designated for the spacecraft to drop safely in the event of a problem during powered flight. The weather in these areas is a monitoring element for all Crew Dragon flights, and there must be sufficient areas available to continue launching.

45th Air Squadron forecast for the Axiom-3 launch. Forecasts are provided for the next three launch windows. (Credit: USSF)

While the abort areas are being monitored, the USSF's 45th Weather Squadron released its forecast for the launch, which shows a less than five percent chance of violating launch standards. The main concern is the base of the cumulus cloud. Buffer days are about as good, with a 10 percent chance of violation for a 24-hour delay and a 25 percent chance of violation for a 48-hour delay, with flying through precipitation joining the cumulus cloud rule as primary concerns.

The B1080 spacecraft and the Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft are ready at Launch Complex 39A before the Axiom-2 launch (Image source: SpaceX)

B1080 began flying the Axiom-2 mission, piloted by Peggy Whitson, transporting Saudi citizens into orbit. The booster also launched the Euclid Space Telescope, Starlink 6-11, and Starlink 6-24. Dragon crew freedom, At the same time, he flew on the Crew-4 and Axiom-2 missions to the International Space Station. freedom It is the fourth Dragon Crew to fly, joining its sister ships Strive, ResilienceAnd to bear.

This flight's crew is led by US and Spanish citizen Michael Lopez Alegría, a veteran astronaut with numerous Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions under his belt. STS-73's first spaceflight was in 1995 aboard the shuttle colombia, He also flew STS-92 and STS-113 as well as Soyuz TMA-9 to the International Space Station as part of Expedition 14.

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Lopez Alegría's last space mission was Axiom-1, which was the first entirely private mission to the International Space Station. The retired NASA astronaut, born in Madrid, Spain on May 30, 1958, is now a commercial astronaut working for Axiom, making his sixth spaceflight overall.

Lopez Alegría holds a bachelor's degree in systems engineering from the US Naval Academy as well as a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the US Naval Postgraduate School. A Navy aviator, he served as an instructor pilot, reconnaissance aircraft pilot, and test pilot at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

Photo of the Axiom-3 crew. From left to right: Markus Wandt, Michael Lopez Alegría, Walter Velade, Albert Gezeravci. (Credit: Axiom Space)

The pilot of the Axiom-3 is Italian Air Force Colonel Walter Velade, who also has experience flying to the edge of space aboard the VSS Unity during the Galactic 01 mission last year. Veladi, born in Rome, Italy on April 29, 1974, has served in the Italian Air Force since 1998. In 2008, Veladi underwent astronaut training at Star City in Russia, earning his astronaut wings in 2012, while also earning his To work as a Soyuz flight engineer in 2015.

Colonel Velade holds a Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Naples Federico II, and a specialization in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Rome. He became a member of the Air Staff and was appointed to the Space Policy Office of the Air Staff in 2011, and is now Chief of the Space Policy and Operations Office. In addition, he is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Space Agency.

The Axiom-3 crew is shown in the launch and entry suits they will wear aboard the Crew Dragon Freedom. Liberty can be partially seen directly behind the crew. (Credit: Axiom Space)

Mission Specialist Alper Gezeravci will become the first Turkish citizen to fly into space. Geziravci, born in Silifke, Turkey in December 1979, is a veteran pilot who flew high-performance jets with the Turkish Air Force for 15 years, followed by seven years flying for Turkish Airlines. He also earned a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering from the Turkish Air Force Academy in Istanbul and a master's degree from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

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The crew is completed by mission specialist Marcus Wandt from Sweden. Wandt, born in Hamaru, Sweden on September 22, 1980, represents the European Space Agency (ESA). The European Space Agency named its mission “Muninn,” after a raven in Norse mythology. He will work alongside Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen, currently on board the station, and whose own mission is known as “Hogen” by the European Space Agency, after another raven in Norse mythology.

Wandt was a fighter pilot in the Swedish Air Force from 2003 to 2014, and became a test pilot for Saab Aeronautics after graduating from the United States Naval Test Pilot School. Along with his promotion to chief test pilot at Saab, he also earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from Chalmers University of Technology.

The Axiom-1 spacecraft crashes off the coast of Florida in April 2022. (Image source: Axiom Space)

The Axiom-3 mission is scheduled to last about two weeks, while the Axiom-1 mission is scheduled to last about 17 days after its flight home was postponed due to bad weather conditions at the landing sites. The Axiom-2 mission spanned 10 days, currently the shortest mission of its kind to date.

While Axiom-3 is in orbit, there will be 11 people aboard the International Space Station and three people aboard China's Tiangong Space Station, making a total of 14 people in orbit. If Virgin Galactic's upcoming flight overlaps with this mission, 20 people will be above an altitude of 80 kilometers for a few minutes, tying the record for the most people in space at one time.

Smart Flight Suit 2 is one of the experiments that will be part of the Axiom-3 mission. (Credit: Spacewear SRL)

The Axiom-3 crew will conduct more than 30 experiments during their time aboard the station, including experiments related to food consumption in space, radiation protection, ovarian function in microgravity, a Turkish plant experiment involving CRISPR gene editing, and biological experiments on astronauts. Space, and other research.

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Once Axiom-3's stay on the ISS is over, the spacecraft will return to Earth in the same manner as other Crew Dragon missions and is scheduled to use one of the landing sites in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. .

(Main image: Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 vertically at Launch Complex 39A before flight. Image credit: Sawyer Rosenstein for NSF)