May 30, 2023: Successful splashdown of Axiom-2, the second crewed mission by Axiom Space (in collaboration with SpaceX and NASA)! This was the second mission to the International Space Station carrying only private astronauts, after Axiom-1 first accomplished this on April 25th, 2022. The Axiom crewed missions, which focus on research, investigation of novel technologies, and STEM outreach, continue to redefine the possibilities of space exploration and commercialization. The Axiom-2 crew launched on May 21st, 2023 onboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom, catching a ride on the Dragon’s typical companion, a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket. The crew consisted of some familiar faces as well as some newcomers. Dr. Peggy Whitson, America’s most experienced astronaut, returned as crew commander, joined by mission specialist and biomedical researcher Rayyanah Barnawi, who is Saudi Arabia’s first woman astronaut. Rounding out the Axiom-2 crew was pilot John Shoffner, a STEM advocate, business pioneer, and life-long space enthusiast, and mission specialist Ali Alghamdi, a fighter pilot also from Saudi Arabia. This marks the second time a Saudi has been to space after Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud flew on Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985. With a focus on expanding human presence in space, the Axiom crew programs groundbreaking endeavor continues to take us closer to a future where space tourism and commercial activity are commonplace.  

Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud,
Saudi royal and astronaut:  link

(L-R) Whitson, Shoffner, AlQarni and Barnawi: link