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Axiom 2



Crew Dragon is a crewed space capsule designed by SpaceX to ferry crews to the International Space Station. It is based on the uncrewed Dragon supply capsule.

Axiom is managing the Ax-2 mission. The company procured launch and transportation services with SpaceX, who trained the crew members on emergency procedures. Whitson and Shoffner are also trained on how to take over manual control of the Dragon spacecraft if necessary. Otherwise, the capsule is designed to fly to the space station on autopilot, along with commanding from SpaceX’s ground team in California.

Former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, with more time in space than any other American, rocketed back into orbit for the fourth time Sunday, riding a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher from Florida with a fare-paying investor and private pilot, and the first two Saudi Arabian astronauts to fly to the International Space Station.

Whitson, selected as a NASA astronaut in 1996, is an Iowa native who earned a PhD in biochemistry from Rice University. The 63-year-old astronaut retired from NASA in 2018 after her third space mission, a nearly 10-month expedition on the space station in 2016 and 2017. She has logged 665 days in orbit, more time in space than any other American, and completed 10 spacewalks in her NASA career.

She joined Houston-based Axiom Space after leaving NASA and is commanding the company’s second private astronaut mission to the space station. The mission, known as Ax-2, follows Axiom’s first commercial crew flight to the station last April.

Pilot John Shoffner, who paid for his seat on the Ax-2 mission, joined Whitson for the trip to space. Shoffner, 67, founded Dura-Line, a telecom company specializing in in the placement of fiber optic cables. He is also an experienced pilot with more than 8,500 hours of flying time, a veteran skydiver with more than 4,000 jumps to his credit, and an amateur race car driver.

Alternate Names

  • 56739
  • Ax 2
  • Axiom2

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2023-05-21
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

  • Axiom Space (United States)


  • Human Crew

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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