SpaceX and Axiom Space are making final preparations for their third private crewed launch from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station.
The Axiom 3 mission is targeted for Wednesday and is the first crewed launch from U.S. soil to the ISS since SpaceX’s Crew-7 mission, which got underway in August 2023.
Axiom Space’s mission is its third to the ISS following launches in April 2022 and May 2023, and will be the first all-European private astronaut mission to head to orbit.
With most of the prep work complete, attention has now turned to the weather conditions along the Space Coast.
The most recent forecast from the 45th Weather Squadron, which provides detailed assessments for air and space operations in the U.S., puts the chances of launch at more than 95%, with liftoff winds the only real concern, Florida Today reported. Other forecasts suggest it’ll be partly cloudy around the launch site on Wednesday, with a less-than-10% chance of rain.
The Axiom 3 crew comprises European Space Agency project astronaut Marcus Wandt of Sweden; commander Michael López-Alegría, a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Spain; pilot Walter Villadei of Italy; and mission specialist Alper Gezeravcı of Turkey.
The four space travelers will blast off aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket. After reaching the space station about 36 hours later, the crew will live and work alongside the current crew of seven professional astronauts for a couple of weeks.
During their time in orbit, the Axiom 3 crew will carry out more than 30 science experiments and participate in more than 50 outreach events with earthlings back on terra firma.
NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom Space officials will carry out a launch readiness review on Tuesday to discuss various aspects of the upcoming mission.
The current launch target is 5:11 p.m. ET (2:11 p.m. PT) on Wednesday, January 17. Here’s everything you need to know to watch a live stream of the event.