NASA SpaceX Team Ready for AX-1 Return and Crew-4 Launch

On Tuesday morning, NASA Commander Tom Marshburn and his six (Expedition 67) flight engineers held a farewell ceremony for the four Axiom Ax-1 Mission crew.

Four SpaceX astronauts of Crew-4 arrive simultaneously at the Florida Kennedy Space Center to prepare for a weekend launch at the International Space Station.

Marshburn called Mission Control today (April 19, 2022) to recognize the contribution of the four Ax-1 private astronauts that have made private human spaceflight.

The private mission astronauts then spoke about the research and education events they conducted on the station and thanked the Expedition 67 crew for hosting and guiding them during their 10-day stay.

Read more: Beginning of a New Era: SpaceX launches first private AX-1 Astronaut Mission

What Will Be The Procedure Of Return?

Ax-1 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria will lead Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe back to Earth inside the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft.

They will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing port at 10 p.m. which will be broadcasted live on NASA TV, NASA’s website, and the NASA app. On Wednesday afternoon, the four will splash down off the coast of Florida.

The seven Expedition 67 crew members will sleep on Wednesday after the Ax1 crew departed late. Four astronauts and three astronauts will return to work on Thursday to continue research and maintenance.

Read: Axiom Space Ax-1: Launch Date, Mission Goals, And What’s Next

What Are The Tests That The Scientists Will Undertake Before Return?

Marshburn and NASA flight engineers Raja Chari and Kayla Barron, along with European Space Agency (ESA) flight engineer Matthias Maurer, will test the crew dragon suit before flying aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endurance in the coming weeks. Roscosmos flight engineers Oleg Artemiev, Denis Matveev and Sergei Korsakov handle tasks related to Russian space research and laboratory maintenance.

The station will be left with a crew of 7 a few days before the SpaceX Crew4 mission arrives.

Also read: Live Updates on Artemis 1: Human Exploration Mission To Moon

Another Crew Is Ready To Enter The Space Station

Four commercial astronauts, representing NASA and ESA, will take off from Kennedy at 5:26 a.m. EST on Saturday and dock at the same port vacated by an Ax-1 mission at 6 a.m. on Sunday.

Under the direction of NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, four pilots Robert Heinz, NASA mission expert Jessica Watkins, and ESA’s Samantha Cristoforetti will live and work in the orbital laboratory for four and a half months. The Crew-4 astronaut becomes an Expedition 67 Flight Engineer when he opens the hatch and enters the space station.

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