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SpaceX, NASA delay launch of private Ax-1 astronaut mission to April 8

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Liftoff is now set for Friday, April 8, at 11:17 a.m. EDT (1517 GMT).

SpaceX's launch of the first all-private mission to the International Space Station has been delayed by two days and will now lift off no earlier than Friday (April 8), SpaceX and the mission's backer Axiom Space announced late Sunday.

The Ax-1 mission will fly four civilians, including former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, for a 10-day mission to the International Space Station. It was set to launch on Wednesday (April 6) from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Texas-based Axiom Space, which plans to operate its own space stations in the future, didn't give a reason for the delay, but it is likely due to NASA's own delay of a critical fueling test of its Artemis 1 moon rocket at the nearby Pad 39B. That test, originally set for Sunday, was delayed to today (April 4) due to ground equipment safety issues, creating a ripple effect of delays.

The Ax-1 mission's liftoff is now scheduled for Friday at 11:17 a.m. EDT (1517 GMT). If all goes to plan, SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule with the crew will reach the space station on Saturday (April 9) at 7:30 a.m EDT (1130 GMT), Axiom Space said in a statement.

"Axiom Space's Axiom mission 1 is now targeting launch no earlier than Friday, April 8," the company said. "Late last week, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arrived in the hangar at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it has since been mated with the Falcon 9 rocket. The team is continuing with pre-launch processing work in the hangar ahead of vehicle rollout on Tuesday, April 5."

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