Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe and the three other members of the Axiom-1 space mission are set to undock from the International Space Station (ISS) at 8:55 pm EDT on Sunday, April 24 (3:55 am Israel time Monday) with a splashdown planned for Monday at 1 pm EDT (8 pm Israel time Monday), Axiom Space announced on Sunday.
The times were announced after a number of delays due to bad weather conditions for a splashdown in the ocean. The spacecraft had originally been set to come back on Wednesday of last week.
The return date came at the joint decision from Axiom Space, NASA, and SpaceX after considering weather conditions at the splash location and the return trajectory required to bring the crew and the SpaceX Dragon Endeavor spacecraft back to Earth safely, Axiom Space said.
“Weather is looking good off the coast of Florida for Dragon’s and the Ax-1 astronauts’ return to Earth, departing from the @space_station tonight at ~8:55 p.m. ET→ http://spacex.com/launches/ax-1/,” SpaceX tweeted on Sunday.
Stibbe, a former fighter pilot, was one of four astronauts that launched into space earlier this month on the first-ever all-private mission to the ISS.
As part of the Rakia mission, Stibbe conducted 35 Israeli scientific experiments across a number of fields including food tech and agriculture.
The 64-year-old is Israel’s second man in space after the first-ever Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, was killed in 2003 when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry into the atmosphere, killing all seven crew members on board.