Astronauts

The Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft splashing down at the end of the Ax-1 mission (Photo courtesy SpaceX)

A few hours ago, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft concluded its Ax-1 mission by splashing down without problems. On board were Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy, who ended this completely private space mission in the Atlantic Ocean after leaving the International Space Station about 16 hours earlier. Shortly after splashing down, the SpaceX ship called the “Megan” went to retrieve the Endeavour and its crew to transport them to the coast.

Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping, and Ye Guangfu after their landing (Photo courtesy Xinhua. All rights reserved)

A few hours ago, the three Chinese taikonauts of the Shenzhou 13 mission returned to Earth after spending almost exactly six months on the Chinese space station’s Tianhe core module. Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping, and Ye Guangfu departed Tianhe about nine hours earlier to land at a site called Dongfeng in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. A procedure that greatly reduces the reentry time to Earth worked perfectly. This was the first Chinese space mission to last six months, roughly twice as much as Shenzhou 12. This is the normal duration for the upcoming missions to the Chinese space station.

The Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft docking with the International Space Station in its Ax-1 mission (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft docked with the International Space Station’s Harmony module completing the first part of its private Axiom Mission 1 or simply Ax-1 mission that began with its launch yesterday. After they verify that the pressure has been correctly balanced, the hatch will be opened to allow Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy to enter the Station.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor starting its Ax-1 mission blasting off atop a Falcon 9 rocket (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in the Axiom Mission 1 or simply Ax-1 mission. After about twelve minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage. It will spend approximately 10 days in orbit which includes 8 days on the International Space Station. Unlike the private space missions conducted last year, the Ax-1 also has commercial purposes in a collaboration between SpaceX, Axiom Space, and NASA to access the Station for the purpose of conducting work useful for the development of new technologies and scientific research.

The Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft leaves the International Space Station (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago, cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov and astronaut Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft, which landed in Kazakhstan. Shkaplerov spent nearly 6 months on the International Space Station, where he arrived on October 5, 2021, as part of Expedition 65. Dubrov and Vande Hei arrived on April 9, 2021, as part of Expedition 64 and completed a long-duration mission.