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AXIOM-2 LAUNCH, May 21, 2023, KSC, 5:37 pm ET (live coverage begins 2:10 pm ET)

Update, May 20:  In addition to NASA’s coverage, Axiom Space says it will begin live coverage at 2:10 pm ET and continue through orbital insertion. SpaceX says it’s live coverage will begin about 3.5 hours before launch.

Update, May 12: NASA TV launch coverage will begin at 4:30 pm ET on May 21.

If launch takes place on time, docking is on May 22 at 9:24 am ET. See our separate Calendar entry.

NASA also has scheduled two media telecons prior to launch: on May 15 following the Flight Readiness Review and on May 20 after the Launch Readiness Review.

Update, May 5:  The new launch date is May 21 at 5:37 pm ET.

Update, May 3: NASA and Axiom no longer are targeting early May for the launch of Ax-2.

One complication was that SpaceX’s launch of ViaSat-3 on a Falcon Heavy, which uses the same launch pad at KSC, was delayed several times. It finally lifted off on April 30, but it takes time to reconfigure the pad for launching a Falcon 9 with a Crew Dragon. The crew’s arrival at and stay aboard ISS also has to be coordinated with other activities taking place there.

Update, April 24: During a news conference about an upcoming US/UAE spacewalk this afternoon, NASA’s Dina Contella said NASA and Axiom are looking at what is the best date for this launch. Two Russian spacewalks were just rescheduled and they are replanning a number of other ISS activities. Stay tuned.

Original Entry: The launch of the Axiom-2 (Ax-2) private astronaut mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for May 8, 2023 at 10:43 pm ET.

The four-person privately-funded crew will launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Freedom and spend about 10 days on the ISS

If launch is on time, they will dock at the ISS on May 10 at 11:40 am ET according to SpaceX’s Sarah Walker during an April 6 pre-launch press conference.

That is a 37-hour trip. Due to the vagaries of orbital dynamics, she said that if the launch slips to the next opportunity, they will still dock at the same time. She did not specify the launch time for that backup opportunity on May 9.

The crew members are:

  • Peggy Whitson, Axiom Space, commander (former NASA astronaut)
  • John Shoffner, pilot, race car driver
  • Ali Alqarni, mission specialist, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Rayyanah Barnawi, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


May 21
5:00 pm - 11:59 pm