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February 5, 2024
Departure of Axiom Space’s four-person commercial astronaut mission from the International Space Station (ISS) has been postponed until February 6 at the latest due to inclement weather in preparation for splashdown off the coast of the Florida peninsula.
The first delay to February 5 was announced by NASA and Axiom on February 3 and was less than six hours. ahead of the previously planned undock of SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom at 6:05 a.m. EST. The next day, NASA announced additional delays until February 6th.
The decision comes as a low-pressure system moves east across the Gulf of Mexico from the Texas/Louisiana area toward Florida, bringing heavy rain, gusty winds, and periodic severe weather.
The third Axiom Space 3 (Ax-3) commercial astronaut mission will be led by Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut, dual Spanish-American citizen, and Axiom’s chief astronaut. It launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on January 18 with an all-European crew. . Italian pilot Walter Billiday was also on board. Markus Vandt of Sweden, project astronaut for the European Space Agency; And Türkiye’s Alper Gezeravci.
Their Crew Dragon capsule docked with the ISS’ Unity module early on January 20, beginning an aggressive and continuously executed science and technology agenda for their 14-day stay.
Once the four astronauts splash down in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, they will be met by a SpaceX recovery ship carrying Axiom and SpaceX support personnel.