Axiom Mission 1 Crew Safely Splashes Down Near Florida

Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission splashes down.
SpaceX’s Dragon Endeavour capsule splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean on April 25, 2022, marking the end of Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 1 – the first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: Axiom Space

Axiom Space astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy have safely returned to Earth, marking the end of the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) – the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, carrying the crew of four and more than 200 pounds of science and supplies, including NASA experiments and hardware, undocked from the space station at 9:10 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 24. About 16 hours later, the vehicle splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

“The success of this first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station is an important step in opening opportunities for space travelers and achieving NASA’s goal of enabling commercial business off the planet in low-Earth orbit,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This progress has been made possible by NASA’s work with private industry – especially the Commercial Crew Program. I’m incredibly proud of the NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom teams for safely completing this landmark mission. Welcome home, Ax-1!”

Chile peppers on the space station
Fresh chile peppers are pictured growing inside the International Space Station’s Advanced Plant Habitat shortly before being harvested late last year. Photo credit: NASA

The crew spent 15 days in orbit, conducting a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations. A few highlights include research on cancer cell growth, a demonstration testing a new air purifier for station use, and a study utilizing swarms of autonomous tiles for future applications of in-space construction.

Following splashdown, teams will retrieve science aboard the Dragon spacecraft and transport it to nearby Kennedy Space Center for further investigation. Kennedy’s proximity to the coast allows researchers to study their experiments mere hours after their return to Earth, while the effects of microgravity are still largely intact.

NASA is partnering with commercial companies to establish a robust low-Earth orbit economy – one where government and private astronauts live and work aboard the space station and future commercial habitats. The agency recently selected Axiom Space to negotiate for a second private astronaut mission to the orbiting laboratory and plans to announce a third flight opportunity later this year.

Learn more information about NASA’s low-Earth orbit economy efforts at:


NASA to Air First Private Astronaut Mission to Station

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endeavor stand ready for Axiom Space's Axiom Mission 1 at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), Thursday, April 7, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA and Axiom Space will provide coverage of launch and select mission activities for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.

Liftoff is scheduled at 11:17 a.m. EDT Friday, April 8, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Coverage begins on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 10:15 a.m. EDT Friday, April 8. Coverage will join the Axiom Space broadcast that begins at about 7:50 a.m. The broadcast will end after orbital insertion approximately 15 minutes after launch.

Weather officials with the 45th Weather Squadron are predicting a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch, with the primary concern being liftoff winds. Teams also are monitoring the down range weather for the flight path of the Crew Dragon.

Ax-1 crew members, Commander Michael López-Alegría of the U.S. and Spain, Pilot Larry Connor of the U.S., Mission Specialist Eytan Stibbe of Israel, and Mission Specialist Mark Pathy of Canada, will launch on a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard SpaceX Dragon Endeavour on its third flight to station.

Leaders from NASA, Axiom Space, and SpaceX will participate in a postlaunch media briefing to provide an update on the launch and mission operations. The briefing is targeted to begin at 12:30 p.m. EDT, or about one hour following launch.

During the 10-day mission, eight of which will be spent aboard the orbiting laboratory, the crew will complete more than 25 science experiments and technology demonstrations developed for a microgravity environment.

NASA is working to build a robust low-Earth orbit economy and working with private companies to support the agency’s goals. In doing so, NASA can become one of many customers of this robust economy as the agency focuses on landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program.

To follow along with the Ax-1 mission, visit and the Ax-1 Briefings, Events and Broadcast Schedule. NASA will release a separate advisory at a later date to preview the Ax-1 farewell event and return coverage.

For more information about NASA’s low-Earth orbit commercialization activities, visit: