The first all-European private astronaut crew launched to the International Space Station (ISS) early this morning aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. The Axiom-3 mission marks a major milestone for commercial human spaceflight and international cooperation in low Earth orbit.
Launch Marks First Human Spaceflight of 2024
At approximately 6:00 am EST on January 18, 2023, the Axiom-3 mission lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida . Onboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft named Endeavour were four private astronauts hailing from France, Spain, the UK, and Germany. This launch signifies the first human spaceflight of 2024.
The astronauts will spend a total of 10 days aboard the orbiting laboratory conducting scientific research and technology demonstrations. While in space, they will participate in more than 25 experiments spanning human research, life sciences, technology demonstrations, Earth observation and more [2,3].
All-European Crew Highlights Growing International Interest
The Axiom-3 crew is the first all-European private astronaut team to visit the ISS. The four space travelers represent a growing international interest in commercial access to space, according to Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini.
|Frank de Winne
|Former European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut
|Retired Air Force test pilot
|Electronics engineer and exobiologist
|Investor and philanthropist
“As we continue to expand access to orbit for more diverse users and use cases, an all-European Axiom crew signals broader participation in the emergent space economy,” said Suffredini .
Multi-Day Mission Will Test Technologies for Future Space Habitats
The Axiom-3 astronauts will test several cutting-edge technologies designed to benefit future long-duration spaceflights. These include a smart shirt system for non-invasive biomonitoring, a holographic assistant for autonomous procedure execution,1824-launch-roundup/
The Axiom-3 mission marks another key milestone as Axiom Space continues developing its own private space station modules. The company plans to launch several module sections over the next few years, culminating in Axiom Station – the world’s first commercial space station in low Earth orbit that will eventually replace the aging ISS.
This launch also helps validate SpaceX’s Crew Dragon for regular crew rotation flights and even potential space tourism missions.
With the all-European Axiom-3 crew now en route to their 10 day stay aboard the ISS, all eyes turn to the pending arrival and docking procedures as this historic mission continues to unfold.
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