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All-Private SpaceX Astronaut Mission Returns To Earth After Extended ISS Stay 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Update (1323ET): SpaceX has confirmed the Dragon Endeavour capsule has splashed down off the coast of Florida. 

Welcome home.

* * * 

The first privately funded US mission to the International Space Station (ISS) concluded operations Sunday evening. The crew of four disembarked from the ISS in a SpaceX Dragon Endeavour capsule, set to splash down off the Florida coast on Monday afternoon. 

The mission, billed as Axiom-1 or Ax-1, was initially supposed to last ten days in orbit, including eight days aboard the ISS, but a series of bad weather at the landing site extended the astronauts' stay on the station by about a week. 

The four crew members — Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut-turned-Axiom employee is overseeing the mission; Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe; Canadian investor Mark Pathy; and Ohio-based real estate magnate Larry Connor — conducted over 25 science experiments on the ISS, including ones for Mayo Clinic, Montreal Children's Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, and the Ramon Foundation. They departed from the ISS on Sunday at 2110 ET. 

It's not entirely clear how much Houston, Texas-based startup Axiom Space spent on the mission. CNN said Axiom previously disclosed a price tag of $55 million per seat for a 10-day trip. However, the mission time was extended, and additional costs were incurred to keep the astronauts on the station. 

"After performing a series of burns to move away from the space station, Dragon will conduct multiple orbit-lowering maneuvers, jettison its trunk, and re-enter Earth's atmosphere before landing off the coast of Florida 16 hours later at approximately 1:06 p.m. ET on Monday, April 25," according to SpaceX's live stream. 

Watch the live event here


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