Private mission with Saudi astronauts docks with ISS | Tech

Private mission with Saudi astronauts docks with ISS

A SpaceX capsule carrying two Saudi astronauts docked with the International Space Station on Monday, as part of a private mission chartered by Axiom Space.

| Updated on: May 23 2023, 07:23 IST
In Pics: February’s stunning Snow Moon backdrops SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch
Saudi Astronaut
1/6 According to the Maine Farmers' Almanac which began publishing Native Indian names for full Moons in the 1930s, February’s full Moon is called Snow Moon or Storm Moon because of the heavy snowfall during the season in various parts of the world. (Twitter/Cygnusx112)
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2/6 SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on February 7 at 0332 GMT. The rocket whizzed past the full Moon, creating a spectacular sight for astronomers and skywatchers alike.  (Twitter/EthanWalshPhoto)
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3/6 After the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, the first-stage booster separated and landed on a drone ship minutes later. The launch was captured by people watching February’s Snow Moon along the coast of Florida.  (Twitter/JerryPikePhoto)
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4/6 Skywatchers and astrophotographers even took to Twitter to share the stunning images captured by them. Twitter user TJWallerPhotos wrote, “Yeeehaw!! Finally got the coveted "rocket passing the moon" shot last night during the @SpaceX AmazonasNexus launch.”  (Twitter/TJWallerPhotos)
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5/6 Another Twitter user named AdxPvdPhoto wrote, “Last night’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the Amazonas Nexus mission with a nearly full moon rising in the clear night sky.” (Twitter/AdxPvdPhoto)
Saudi Astronaut
6/6 Why does a full Moon occur? Well, a full moon occurs when the side of the Moon facing Earth is fully lit up by the Sun. There are a few different types of unusual full moon types, which include blood moons, supermoons, blue moons, and harvest moons, and others. The Snow Moon is one of the 12 full Moons of the year and it will reach its maximum elevation in the constellation Leo just after midnight.  (REUTERS)
Saudi Astronaut
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People pass by a banner depicting Saudi Space Commission astronauts Ali Al-Qarni (L) and Rayyanah Barnawi of the Axiom Mission 2. (AFP)

A SpaceX capsule carrying two Saudi astronauts docked with the International Space Station on Monday, as part of a private mission chartered by Axiom Space.

Rayyanah Barnawi, a scientist who became the first Saudi woman to go into space, and Ali Al-Qarni, a trained fighter pilot, are the first two people from their country to go to the orbital outpost.

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"It was a lovely ride," said mission commander Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut who made the voyage three times in the past, adding: "It was the softest docking I've ever felt."

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The fourth crew member is American businessman John Shoffner.

About two hours after docking, the capsule's hatch will be opened to allow the four to enter the ISS, where they will join the seven astronauts already on board (three Russians, three Americans, and an Emirati).

The SpaceX rocket took off from Florida on Sunday, and the trip to the ISS, which flies around 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth, lasted about 16 hours.

This mission, named Ax-2, is the second fully private mission to visit the Space Station, following a first in April 2022. The members of Ax-2 will stay about ten days and carry out about 20 experiments.



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First Published Date: 23 May, 07:23 IST