STATEMENT: The Ax-3 astronauts make splashdown and complete the first European commercial mission to the ISS

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STATEMENT: The Ax-3 astronauts make splashdown and complete the first European commercial mission to the ISS

(Information sent by the signatory company)

HOUSTON, February 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- After undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, February 7, the crew of the Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) mission landed safely off the coast of Florida aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at 8:30 a.m. ET on February 9, 2024. With the return of the Ax-3 crew, the first all-European commercial astronaut mission and Axiom Space's third manned mission to the ISS officially concludes.

The Ax-3 crew is composed of Commander Michael López-Alegría, from the United States and Spain, pilot Walter Villadei, from the Italian Air Force, and mission specialists Alper Gezeravcı, from Turkey, and Marcus Wandt, from Sweden. and the European Space Agency (ESA).

"The successful return of our Ax-3 astronauts means more than just the completion of a human spaceflight mission; it marks a pivotal moment in commercial space exploration and an important milestone for Europe's goals in low Earth orbit." said Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space. "Axiom Space's first three commercial missions to the ISS are a testament to international progress in space, with diverse crews representing eight nations, as well as - for the first time on Ax-3 - the European Space Agency. The success of these missions is an important step on our path to Axiom Station, which underscores our continued efforts to expand access to low Earth orbit."

During its 18-day mission docked with the ISS, the Ax-3 crew lived and worked aboard the orbital laboratory performing more than 30 different experiments and more than 50 outreach activities. Human research data collected on the ground before and after the mission, as well as in flight, will improve the understanding of human physiology on Earth and in microgravity.

Ax-3 demonstrates that the European community of spacefaring nations is a pioneer in the burgeoning commercial space industry. The crew and the governments they represent are taking bold steps toward a new era of leadership in low-Earth orbit.

Ax-3 celebrates many firsts: it was the first commercial spaceflight mission composed of domestic astronauts sponsored by the government and ESA; mission specialist Alper Gezeravcı became the first Turkish astronaut in history; and mission specialist Marcus Wandt was the first ESA project astronaut to fly on a commercial space mission.

Ax-3 is the third in a series of human spaceflight missions proposed by Axiom Space, and marks a critical milestone toward the realization of Axiom Station, the world's first commercial space station.

Axiom Space plays an important role in offering human spaceflight to the international community. These missions enable governments, individuals, researchers, academic institutions and organizations around the world to conduct extensive scientific research, technology demonstrations and outreach activities in the unique environment of microgravity.

Axiom Space's first three missions to the ISS included crews from the United States, Spain, Israel, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Turkey and Sweden, with support from ESA. Additionally, last year, Axiom Space signed a memorandum of understanding with ESA and the British Space Agency to explore future human spaceflight opportunities.

Axiom Space plans to launch its fourth mission, Axiom Mission 4 (Ax-4), to the ISS no earlier than October 2024 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Watch the splashdown replay at


Axiom Space is building for the afterlife, guided by the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits all humans, everywhere. Axiom Space, a leading provider of human spaceflight services and developer of human space infrastructure, currently operates comprehensive missions to the International Space Station, while developing its successor, Axiom Station, the world's first commercial space station in orbit. low Earth, which will sustain human growth off-planet and bring home untold benefits.

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