First US private astronaut mission to space station to return at weekend

LOS ANGELES, April 21 (Xinhua) -- The first U.S. private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is set to undock from the ISS on Saturday and return to Earth on Sunday, according to NASA.

File photo: Agencies

The mission, codenamed Ax-1, was launched on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 8.

The four-person multinational crew is composed of Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Pilot Larry Connor of the United States, Mission Specialist Eytan Stibbe of Israel, and Mission Specialist Mark Pathy of Canada.

The crew will undock from the ISS at 8:35 p.m. Saturday Eastern Time, for a splashdown off the coast of Florida about 1:46 p.m. Sunday, according to NASA.

Teams will continue to monitor the weather at the splashdown sites prior to undocking to ensure conditions are acceptable for a safe recovery of the Ax-1 astronauts and Dragon spacecraft, said NASA.