Four private Ax-2 astronauts set to return home on May 30: Watch undocking and departure coverage
After spending approximately nine days at the orbiting laboratory, the four crew members of Axiom Space's second all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2), are scheduled to undock from the International Space Station no earlier than 11:05 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 30, to begin the journey home.
Ax-2 astronauts lifted off on Sunday, May 21, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SpaceX Dragon carrying the crew autonomously docked to the space-facing port of the station's Harmony module on May 22.
The crew, comprising Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner, and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, will depart in a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and splashdown off the coast of Florida. The spaceship will return to Earth with more than 300 pounds of cargo, including NASA hardware and data from over 20 different experiments.
NASA will provide live coverage of the undocking and departure of the Axiom Mission 2, starting with hatch closure preparations at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency's website.
The Axiom Space Mission 2 is the second mission with an entirely private crew to visit the orbiting laboratory.
After just over a week in space, @Axiom_Space's #Ax2 astronauts are set to return to Earth on Tuesday, May 30. Here’s how to watch live coverage, from closing of the hatches to splashdown: https://t.co/6WAjNw8cKQ pic.twitter.com/a87lTKbmre— NASA (@NASA) May 27, 2023
The Ax-2 crew members successfully completed the last full day of science research and STEAM outreach at the space station. On Monday, the Ax-2 crew will pack the return cargo and prepare for undocking.
Additionally, a farewell ceremony will also be held where the crew will share some words as they conclude their mission. The event will be live-streamed on Axiom Space's YouTube channel as well as NASA's social media channels at 10:50 a.m. EDT.