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Third all-private astronaut mission departs from space station

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-08 02:50
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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is readied for launch of the Axiom Mission 3 to the International Space Station with crew members Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria of the US/Spain, Pilot Walter Villadei of Italy, Mission Specialist Alper Gezeravci of Turkey, and ESA (European Space Agency) project astronaut Marcus Wandt of Sweden, at Cape Canaveral, in Florida, US on Jan 17. [Photo/Agencies]

LOS ANGELES -- The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, completing the third all-private astronaut mission to the orbiting laboratory.

The mission, codenamed Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3), is the first all-European commercial astronaut mission to the ISS, according to NASA.

The spacecraft undocked from the ISS' Harmony module at 9:20 am Eastern Time over the Pacific Ocean, to head back to Earth. The spacecraft is scheduled to splashdown off the coast of Daytona, Florida, on Friday morning.

The SpaceX Dragon will return to Earth with more than 550 pounds of science and supplies, including NASA experiments and hardware.

The four-member crew onboard the spacecraft are commander Michael Lopez-Alegria of the United States and Spain, pilot Walter Villadei of the Italian Air Force, and the two mission specialists -- Alper Gezeravci of Türkiye and European Space Agency project astronaut Marcus Wandt of Sweden.

The Dragon spacecraft was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan 18.

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