SpaceX release of personal Ax-2 astronauts simply put the 600th user in orbit

The 600th user to go into Earth orbit is now on its strategy to the International Space Station aboard the second one business venture to fly there.

Rayyanah Barnawi on Sunday (May 21) lifted off with fellow Saudi Space Commission (SSC) astronaut Ali AlQarni, privately funded astronaut John Shoffner of Tennessee and previous NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson on the second one venture arranged by means of Houston-based house services and products corporate Axiom Space. The 4 Axiom 2 (Ax-2) crewmates introduced at 5:37 p.m. EDT (2137 GMT) at the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft “Freedom” atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Less than 9 mins later, Barnawi and her crewmates started circling the planet. AlQarni and Shoffner are first-time fliers as neatly, however in accordance with a precedent set in 2021 when the 600th user entered house — a determine that still integrated suborbital flights — the rely is in accordance with the astronauts’ venture designations.

As pilot, Shoffner become quantity 598. AlQarni is quantity 599, flying as venture specialist 1. As such, Barnawi, as venture specialist 2, claimed the spherical quantity. With Barnawi, simplest 72 ladies assist contain the 600-person general.

Related: Live updates from the Ax-2 non-public astronaut venture
More: SpaceX’s Ax-2 venture for Axiom Space in footage (gallery)

Ax-2 mission specialist Rayyanah Barnawi in a spacesuit.

Ax-2 venture specialist Rayyanah Barnawi with the Saudi Space Commission has transform the 600th user to orbit Earth. She could also be the primary Arab girl to circle the planet, first Saudi girl to fly into house and 72nd girl international to orbit Earth. (Image credit score: SpaceX)

“I feel incredibly humbled to follow in the footsteps of the many astronauts and pioneers before me,” stated Barnawi in a remark. “As the 600th person to enter orbit around earth, I am excited to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Space Commission during this historic mission. It is a true honor to be a part of a mission that is expanding access to low-Earth orbit for people like me and you and to be able to inspire people around the world to reach for the stars and pursue their dreams.”

Barnawi could also be now the primary Saudi girl to fly in house and primary Arab girl to orbit Earth, and with AlQarni, the primary Arabs and Saudis to release in combination at the identical venture. The first Saudi (and Arab) astronaut to fly, Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, did in order a payload specialist aboard the house trip Discovery in 1985.

Once they come on the International Space Stationwhich is predicted to happen at 9:24 am EDT (1324 GMT) on Monday, Barnawi and AlQarni will probably be greeted by means of the station’s Expedition 69 team, together with Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, marking the primary time 3 Arab astronauts were in house on the identical time.

Barnawi, 33, and AlQarni, 31, aren’t the one record-setters at the Ax-2 team. Shoffner, 67, is the primary user to were born in Alaska (Fairbanks) to fly into house.

Axiom Space's Ax-2 crew inside SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft "To install Freedom."

Axiom Space’s Ax-2 team are observed in SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft “Freedom,” from left: venture specialist Rayyanah Barnawi, pilot John Shoffner, commander Peggy Whitson and venture specialist Ali AlQarni. (Image credit score: SpaceX)

Peggy Whitson, as a former NASA astronaut, already holds the respect as probably the most skilled American and lady to fly into house, having in the past logged greater than 665 days on 3 long-duration remains aboard the gap station. She will upload to that rely in this venture, which is predicted to ultimate about 10 days.

Whitson, 63, is now additionally the primary girl to command a business spaceflight. She joined Axiom Space after retiring from NASA in 2018, turning into the corporate’s director of human spaceflight. Whitson is the second one former NASA astronaut to fly for Axiom, following Michael Lopez-Alegria on Ax-1 in 2022, and the 3rd NASA astronaut to go back to house after leaving the company, following John Glenn in 1998.

During the following week on the house station, Whitson will lend a hand Shoffner, AlQarni and Barnawi continue via their deliberate science and outreach methods. The Ax-2 team plans to habits greater than 20 other experiments, together with analysis into stem cells, DNA-based nanomaterials and most cancers countermeasures. They may also {photograph} lightning moves and high-altitude brief luminous occasions (TLEs) referred to as sprites and check a wearable skinsuit that simulates Earth’s gravity to counteract the unwanted side effects of microgravity,

Shoffner, a race automotive driving force who has aspired to fly into house since his youth, will use a part of his time to announce the winners of a Crayola-sponsored artwork and poetry contest that was once open to youngsters from all over the world. AlQarni and Barnawi will engage with scholars in Saudi Arabia with the purpose of inspiring an hobby in science, generation, engineering and arithmetic (STEM) training.

“We’re going to be doing three educational awareness experiments with the kids,” stated AlQarni throughout a pre-launch press convention. “It’s going to be a live event, which is going to be amazing for them because it’s going to be a huge opportunity to compare the results that they had [on] the ground with the ones we are going to have aboard the ISS.”

AlQarni and Barnawi also are bringing a style in their nation to their transient house in orbit.

“We are taking with us Saudi coffee and dates to share with the astronauts on board the ISS,” stated AlQarni in a respond to a query posed by means of

Barnawi has a Saudi flag and packed earrings from her grandmother, who was once no longer ready to wait her release however gave her blessing for Barnawi to fly into house.

Whitson has once more flown a necklace that she wore at her marriage ceremony after which flew on her 3 earlier missions. Shoffner selected one thing that represented his life-long dream of flying in house.

“When I used to be 8 years previous, I constructed a fashion of the Gemini spacecraft. It had little astronauts in it that might pop out and I occur to nonetheless have one from 1963. So a kind of little guys— almost certainly Ed WhiteI believe—goes with me to house once more,” he stated.

Related: Facts about NASA’s Gemini human spaceflight program

Mission patch for Axiom Space's Ax-2 astronaut mission to the International Space Station.

Axiom Space patch for the Axiom-2 (Ax-2) venture. (Image credit score: Axiom Space)

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