How to watch: Axiom’s private astronauts leave the ISS and return to Earth

How to watch: Axiom's private astronauts leave the ISS and return to Earth

The four-member crew is set to splash down on the Florida coast later today.

Expedition 69 and Afx-2 astronauts (Credit: NASA)

UPDATE: Undocking confirmed at 11:05am ET:

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Original Story: Following a 10-day stint aboard the International Space Station, the four-member Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) crew will board a SpaceX Dragon craft and begin their journey back to Earth.

Today’s joint operation of Axiom Space and SpaceX(Opens in a new window) begins with preparations to close the hatch and ends when the astronauts touch down on the Florida coast.

Peggy Whitson, John Shoffner, Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi joined Expedition 69 members on the ISS last week for 10 days of scientific research, outreach and business activities. It is the first private space mission led by a woman and includes private astronauts and foreign government representatives (Barnawi and Alqarni are members of the inaugural Saudi national astronaut program).

Whitson, Axiom’s director of human spaceflight and a former NASA astronaut, previously served as NASA’s chief astronaut and the first female ISS commander. This trip also counts toward his record for the longest cumulative time in space by a NASA astronaut.

How to watch:

YouTube video

  • 9 a.m. ET: NASA coverage for hatch closure begins at 9:10 a.m.

  • 10:45 a.m. ET: NASA coverage for undocking resumes at 11:05 a.m.

Hours are subject to change based on operations. NASA will stop transmitting approximately 30 minutes after undocking, when joint operations with the Axiom Space and SpaceX mission teams end. Axiom is then set to resume coverage of the Dragon’s reentry and splashdown via its website.

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“The Ax-2 mission represents both the culmination of NASA’s efforts to foster a commercial market in low-Earth orbit and the beginning of a new era of space exploration that allows more people to fly more types of missions,” according to The NASA.

“This partnership is changing the story arc of human spaceflight by opening up access to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities,” NASA said.

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