NASA Prepares for Axiom Mission 3 Departure from Space Station Saturday Morning

By  //  February 3, 2024

NASA & SPACE NEWS

NASA will provide live coverage of the undocking and departure of the Axiom Mission 3 private astronaut flight from the International Space Station before the crew returns to Earth. (NASA image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – NASA will provide live coverage of the undocking and departure of the Axiom Mission 3 private astronaut flight from the International Space Station before the crew returns to Earth.

The four-member astronaut crew is scheduled to undock no earlier than 6:05 a.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 3, from the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module in a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to begin the journey home and splashdown off the coast of Florida.

NASA will provide live coverage of space station joint operations with Axiom Space and SpaceX. Coverage of hatch-closure preparations will begin at 4 a.m. NASA coverage of undocking will resume at 5:45 a.m.

Coverage will be available on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA appYouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

The four private astronauts, Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Marcus Wandt, and Alper Gezeravci, will complete about two weeks in space at the conclusion of their mission. The Axiom crew, along with Expedition 70, highlighted their stay aboard the space station during farewell remarks on Friday in advance of their undocking.

Their SpaceX Dragon will return to Earth with more than 550 pounds of cargo, including NASA hardware and data from more than 30 different experiments the crew conducted during their mission. Splashdown is expected about 7 p.m.

Ax-3, the third all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, successfully lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Jan. 18.

NASA’s undocking and departure coverage for Ax-3 is as follows (all times Eastern and subject to change based on operations):

Saturday, Feb. 3

■ 4 a.m. – NASA coverage begins for 4:15 a.m. hatch closure

■ 5:45 a.m. – NASA coverage continues for 6:05 a.m. undocking

NASA’s coverage ends approximately 30 minutes after undocking when space station joint operations with Axiom Space and SpaceX mission teams conclude. Axiom Space will resume coverage of Dragon’s re-entry and splashdown on the company’s website.

The Ax-3 mission is part of NASA’s effort to foster a commercial market in low Earth orbit and continue a new era of space exploration that enables more people and organizations to fly multiple mission objectives.

This partnership expands the arc of human spaceflight and opens access to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, science, and commercial opportunities.

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