This beautiful image shows the Axiom-3 crew over the Himalayas as they approach the ISS

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon approaches the ISS on the Axiom-3 mission. NASA

The first all-European commercial crew bound for the International Space Station (ISS) arrived safely at the orbital outpost on Saturday morning.

Axiom-3 crew members — Marcus Wandt of Sweden; Michael López-Alegría, dual citizen of the US and Spain; Walter Villadei from Italy; and Turkey’s Alper Gezeravcı — launched Thursday from the Kennedy Space Center aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule powered to orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket.

Current ISS crew members Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara recently shared some dramatic images showing Crew Dragon as it approached the space station on Saturday morning.

The clip below, for example, shows the spacecraft as seen from the ISS.

Ax-3’s beautiful approach to the space station, now home to 11 people representing 8 countries!

— Loral O’Hara (@lunarloral) January 21, 2024

Moghbeli shared four beautiful images also taken from the station, showing Naga Kru high above the Himalayas.

#Axe3 has arrived! I’m not sure they could have chosen a more beautiful backdrop for their arrival. Excited to welcome him @CommanderMLA, @WalterVilladei, @TURKastroAnd @astro_marcus on the ship @Space Station!

— Jasmin Moghbeli (@AstroJaws) January 20, 2024

The arrival of the Axiom-3 crew brings the total number of passengers on the ISS to 11 people. Over the next few weeks, the four new crew members will conduct more than 30 science experiments and take part in 50 outreach events with organizations in their home countries. .

Axiom-3 is the third commercial mission to the ISS hosted by Texas-based Axiom Space with support from NASA and SpaceX. The first occurs in April 2022.

Villadei, Wandt, and Gezeravcı are believed to have paid tens of millions of dollars for the privilege of spending several weeks in orbit.

Providing opportunities for private citizens to travel to space gives NASA the opportunity to develop a commercial economy in low Earth orbit.

Expanding its commercial efforts, Axiom Space also aims to build a commercial space station that could one day replace the ISS when the old facility becomes unusable in about seven years from now.

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