SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying private Ax-2 astronauts splashes down off Florida coast.

The four astronauts of the private Ax-2 mission returned to Earth in their SpaceX Dragon capsule late Tuesday night (May 30).

That Dragon, named Freedom, undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) earlier in the day at 11:05 a.m. EDT (1505 GMT), ending a 10-day mission that included eight days docked at the orbiting lab. Freedom returned to Earth 12 hours later with a flawless splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida at 11:04 p.m. EDT (0304 GMT on May 31), ending the Ax-2 mission by SpaceX for the Houston-based company Axiom Space.

Ax-2 is the second mission to the ISS operated by  Axiom Space, after Ax-1 in April 2022. That previous mission was the first all-private crewed flight to the orbiting lab.

Ax-2 was commanded by Whitson, the record-breaking former NASA astronaut who now serves as director of human spaceflight at Axiom Space. The other crewmates were John Shoffner, Ali AlQarni and Rayyanah Barnawi.

Shoffner was a paying customer for Axiom Space, and AlQarni and Barnawi are members of Saudi Arabia's first astronaut class for the Saudi Space Commission. The latter duo were the first Saudis to visit the ISS, and Barnawi became the first woman from the kingdom ever to reach space.

Just one person from Saudi Arabia had ever gone to space before Ax-2 — the prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, who flew on the STS-51-G mission of the space shuttle Discovery back in 1985.

Source: www.space.com


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