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Private space crew launches from Kennedy Space Center, 1st human mission of 2024

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches the Axiom-3 mission from Kennedy Space Center.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches the Axiom-3 mission from Kennedy Space Center.

After a day-long delay, four people aboard a privately-chartered mission to the International Space Station launched Thursday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center, making the trip in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

The mission is the third launched by commercial company Axiom Space, carrying an all-European crew with astronauts from Spain, Turkey, Italy and Sweden.

The crew will dock with the station Saturday.

This mission is a 16-day mission, with two weeks spent on the International Space Station where the crew will conduct microgravity research, technology demonstrations and outreach events.

Axiom Chief astronaut and commander of the mission, Michael López-Alegría, said he is proud to be leading this expedition.

“It's a dream come true for me. I will gladly continue to fly, as long as the body is willing to do so," said López-Alegría, who is making his second trip to space with Axiom. Previously, he was a NASA astronaut and participated in multiple space missions. "This is really a privilege for somebody in my position to be able to do - go back to space, first of all, but especially to lead this very well prepared and expertly trained group. And it never gets old.”

Axiom worked with commercial company SpaceX for the transport. This is SpaceX's 12th mission sending humans into orbit.

Copyright 2024 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Marian Summerall