Monday, February 26, 2024
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HomeScienceFour astronauts, including first from Turkey, dive after private Axiom mission

Four astronauts, including first from Turkey, dive after private Axiom mission

The return trip was delayed several days due to bad weather.

Washington, United States:

An all-European quartet of astronauts, including the first from Turkey, landed off the coast of Florida on Friday morning, completing Axiom Space’s third private mission to the International Space Station.

The Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) was the company’s first launch in which the three paid seats were purchased by national agencies rather than wealthy individuals.

A live stream showed a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule named “Freedom” floating by parachute into the Atlantic Ocean, where it was intercepted and taken aboard a recovery ship.

“I am very proud of my Ax-3 crewmates who helped their agencies achieve all their scientific objectives, technology demonstrations and outreach events,” Axiom chief astronaut Michael López-Alegría, a Spanish citizen, said in a farewell. and American and former NASA astronaut. ceremony before the crew returned to Earth.

The mission was initially going to last two weeks, but the return trip was delayed several days due to bad weather, forcing an 18-day stay on the ISS.

López-Alegría was joined by Turkish pilot and air force colonel Alper Gezeravci, Walter Villadei, an Italian air force colonel who had previously flown to the edge of space in a Virgin Galactic space plane, and Marcus Wandt of Sweden, who also represented the European Space Agency.

Nations with smaller space programs are increasingly turning to the private sector to fulfill their space ambitions, and Turkey in particular welcomes the mission as a sign of its growing stature on the world stage.

The crew conducted 30 experiments and learned more about the impact of microgravity on the human body, the advancement of industrial processes and more.

Axiom Space was founded in 2016 by Michael Suffredini, former director of NASA’s ISS program, and entrepreneur Kam Ghaffarian.

In addition to organizing private missions to the orbital outpost, the company is developing spacesuits for future NASA missions to the Moon.

It is also building a commercial space station that aims to initially connect to the ISS, then separate and orbit independently at some point before the ISS retires.

The exact costs of the Ax-3 have not been revealed, but in 2018, when the company first announced the program, which involves leasing SpaceX hardware and paying NASA for services, it set a price tag of $55 million per seat. .

More recently, reported that Hungary was planning a $100 million deal with Axiom for a future mission involving an astronaut.

Britain, which is striving to build a post-Brexit space strategy, also signed an agreement for a future mission with British astronauts.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated channel.)

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