After an extended 20-day mission in space, the Axiom-3 crew has successfully concluded their mission with a splashdown off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida.
The quartet of private astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed “Freedom,” touched down in the Atlantic Ocean at approximately 7:30 PM IST on February 9.
The Axiom-3 mission, which marked a significant milestone as the first all-European private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), was initially slated for an 15-day duration. However, bad weather conditions near Florida necessitated an additional two days in orbit before the crew could safely return.
Commander Michael L³pez-Alegra, a seasoned space traveler and Axiom Space’s chief astronaut, led the mission alongside Pilot Walter Villadei, and Mission Specialists Alper GezeravcÄñ and Marcus Wandt. This diverse team represented a collaboration of astronauts from Italy, Turkey, and Sweden, making it a truly international endeavour.
During their time aboard the ISS, the Axiom-3 team engaged in over 30 scientific experiments, delving into areas such as biomedical research, sleep studies, bone health, space weather, and even the culinary challenge of cooking pasta in microgravity.
Their extended stay allowed them to conduct additional research and participate in outreach events with their respective home countries.
The mission commenced on January 18, with a launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
After docking with the ISS, the crew set about their ambitious research agenda, contributing valuable data that will enhance our understanding of human physiology both on Earth and in space.
The safe return of the Axiom-3 astronauts is not only shows the robustness of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The successful splashdown was live-streamed, allowing space enthusiasts around the world to witness the culmination of this historic mission.