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Axiom Space Announces Axiom Mission 2 Crew

Ax-2 Crew – (from left to right) Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner, Mission Specialist Ali AlQarni, and Mission Specialist Rayyanah Barnawi. Credit: Axiom Space

Ibadan, 14 February 2023. – Axiom Space has announced the full crew complement for the Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2), the second all-private mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Company’s Director of Human Spaceflight, Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut, will lead the privately funded mission, and aviator John Shoffner will serve as pilot. Furthermore, the two mission specialists, Ali AlQarni and Rayyanah Barnawi from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are members of the inaugural Saudi national astronaut program.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Ax-2 Crew aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to the ISS from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Once docked, the Axiom Space astronauts plan to spend ten days aboard the orbiting laboratory implementing a full mission comprised of science, outreach, and commercial activities. The mission launch is tentatively in the spring of 202. Furthermore, it will be the first private space mission to include private astronauts and astronauts representing foreign governments, as well as the first private mission commanded by a woman.

Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space, said of the mission, “Axiom Space’s second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station cements our mission of expanding access to space worldwide and supporting the growth of the low-Earth orbit economy as we build Axiom Station.” Suffredini also added that “Ax-2 moves Axiom Space one step closer toward the realization of a commercial space station in low-Earth orbit and enables us to build on the legacy and achievements of the ISS, leveraging the benefits of microgravity to a better life on Earth.”

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