Axiom, SpaceX launch third all-private crew mission to house station

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center to begin the Ax-3 commercial crew mission.

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from NASA’s Kennedy House Middle to start the Ax-Three business crew mission. (credit score: Stephen Clark/Ars Technica)

For the third time, an all-private crew is heading for the Worldwide House Station. The four-man crew lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy House Middle in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Thursday, kicking off a 36-hour pursuit of the orbiting analysis laboratory. Docking is scheduled for Saturday morning.

This two-week mission is managed by Houston-based Axiom House, which is conducting non-public astronaut missions to the ISS as a stepping stone towards constructing a completely business house station in low-Earth orbit by the top of this decade.

Axiom’s third mission, known as Ax-3, launched at 4:49 pm EST (21:49 UTC) Thursday. The 4 astronauts have been strapped into their seats inside SpaceX’s Dragon Freedom spacecraft atop the Falcon 9 rocket. That is the 12th time SpaceX has launched a human spaceflight mission, and may very well be the primary of 5 Dragon crew missions this 12 months.

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