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Axiom Private Astronaut Mission Crew Will Conduct ARISS School Contacts


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS-USA) has announced that two crew members scheduled to fly on Axiom Mission-1 (Ax-1) — the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) — will carry out amateur radio contacts with six schools while in space. The Ax-1 mission is currently set to launch from Florida on March 30 via a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher, and the crew will spend 10 days in orbit on board the ISS. Ax-1 crew members Mark Pathy, KO4WFH, from Canada, and Eytan Stibbe, 4Z9SPC, from Israel, will carry out the contacts. ARISS has trained both crew members in the use of the ARISS radio system in the ISS Columbus module.

As part of the “Rakia” mission, Stibbe will use ARISS facilities on board the ISS to answer questions from middle school and high school students in Israel. Forty classes are expected to participate, and in the weeks preceding the launch, the students will learn a bit about the theory and practice of radio communication.

Pathy, whose personal mission theme is “caring for people and the planet,” will connect with elementary and high schoolers across Canada from the ISS. Pathy will answer student-developed questions that range from how his body has reacted to being in space to handling everyday tasks in zero gravity, as well as “thoughtful questions around the state of our planet.”

“The long-held dream of private missions to stations in space becomes a reality on Ax-1,” said Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, Executive Director of ARISS-USA and Chair of ARISS International. “ARISS is proud to collaborate with Axiom Space, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe on this flight and support the Ax-1 crew members through amateur radio contacts that will inspire, engage, and educate school students in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) topics.”

Mary Lynne Dittmar, Executive Vice President of Government Operations and Strategic Communications for Axiom Space, said, “Axiom is proud to help enable the educational work of ARISS-USA on this historic mission. For years, ARISS and its programs have inspired students across the globe to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, and math, and we are pleased that Ax-1 will join the list of missions that have contributed to this important educational work.”

The Ax-1 mission includes an international crew of four, with Axiom’s Michael López-Alegría, ex-KE5GTK, a former NASA astronaut and now an Axiom Vice President. López -Alegría will serve as mission commander. The fourth crew member, Larry Connor, will serve as the pilot.

“The goal for the Ax-1 crew is to set a standard for all future private astronaut missions in terms of our preparation and professionalism,” López-Alegría said in a NASA news release.

Down the road, Axiom will build modules that will attach to the ISS. Axiom will fly its own Hub One space station in the future.



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