SpaceX again delays undocking of private crew of Ax-1 astronauts from the ISS

(ORDO NEWS) — The world’s first private crew on the ISS must wait at least another day to leave orbit as bad weather prevented a scheduled undock on Saturday (April 23).

NASA, SpaceX and Axiom Space, which supports the private Ax-1 mission, canceled plans to undock the four-man SpaceX Dragon spacecraft due to unacceptably high winds at landing sites off the coast of Florida. Mission managers planned to undock on Saturday evening.

“At the conclusion of the weather briefing prior to today’s scheduled undocking, the NASA, Axiom Space and SpaceX teams have decided to abandon today’s undocking attempt due to a low wind front that caused marginally strong winds at the landing sites,” NASA officials wrote in an update in a posting.

Saturday. “The Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) crew is currently scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 00:55 UTC on Monday, April 25th.”

SpaceX’s Ax-1 mission launched on April 8, sending four Axiom Space commercial astronauts, three of them paying passengers, on a short trip to the station.

The crew includes Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former NASA astronaut, and paying passengers Larry Connor, an American entrepreneur, Mark Paty, a Canadian entrepreneur, and Israeli investor and entrepreneur Eitan Stibbe.

Connor, Paty and Stibbe paid $55 million each for the flight. During their journey, the Ax-1 astronauts conducted a number of experiments, conducted educational activities, and enjoyed space flight.

The Ax-1 mission was originally supposed to last about 10 days, eight of which were at the space station, but the duration was extended after weather conditions prevented a planned Tuesday (April 19) undocking.

If the Ax-1 Dragon capsule is able to undock on Monday, it is expected to land off the coast of Florida around 20:00 UTC on Monday, April 25th.

The Ax-1 undock delays have caused a slight traffic jam for the next professional NASA crew to visit the space station. On Tuesday (April 26), SpaceX will launch a new crew from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of the Crew-4 mission.

The launch of Crew-4 astronauts on another SpaceX Dragon spacecraft has been delayed since mid-April due to the Ax-1 mission (which currently uses the Crew-4 mission docking port on the station) and delays in testing the fueling of NASA’s Artemis 1 Space Launch System. which caused a domino effect on the rescheduling at the Kennedy Space Center for Ax-1 and Crew-4 earlier in the month.

NASA and SpaceX also plan to bring the other four professional astronauts of the Crew-3 mission home after launching Crew-4 on the third Dragon capsule.

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