Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe gets yet another extra day on the International Space Station as his return to Earth sees another delay until Monday.
Stibbe was originally scheduled to return on Wednesday, but weather conditions unfavorable to a drop in the ocean delayed the capsule’s return to Sunday and then again to Monday.
Stibbe and the other members of Axiom-1 – the first-ever fully private mission to the ISS – are now set to parachute into the ocean off the coast of Florida around 1 p.m. ET on Monday .
Stibbe, a businessman and former fighter pilot, was one of four astronauts who lifted off earlier this month from the privately funded mission that successfully docked with the ISS the following day.
While on the space station, the group stuck to a strict schedule, which included about 14 hours a day of activities, including scientific research.
Israel’s first-ever astronaut, Ilan Ramon, was killed in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry, killing all seven crew members on board. Members of the Ramon family were present when Stibbe’s flight was first announced in 2020, and were also present at the takeoff in Orlando.
Stibbe carried with him surviving pages from Ramon’s space diary, as well as memories of his children.
Unlike recent, eye-catching suborbital flights by Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, Axiom says its mission shouldn’t be considered tourism because of its science goals.
NASA has hailed the three-way partnership with Axiom Space and SpaceX as a key step toward commercializing the region of space known as the “Low Earth Orbit,” leaving the agency to focus on more ambitious journeys deeper. in the cosmos.