Ax-3 private astronaut mission splashes down

Updated 3 p.m. Eastern with comments.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft splashed down off the Florida coast Feb. 9, wrapping up a three-week private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft Freedom splashed down at 8:30 a.m. Eastern off the coast from Daytona Beach, Florida, concluding the Ax-3 mission for Axiom Space. The spacecraft’s reentry and descent went as planned, from a deorbit burn by the spacecraft to deployment of drogue and main parachutes.
The Ax-3 mission lifted off Jan. 18 on a Falcon 9. It was commanded by former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, who also commanded Ax-1 in 2022. Walter Villadei, an Italian Air Force officer, was pilot. Alper Gezeravcı of Turkey and Marcus Wandt of Sweden served as mission specialists, with Wandt representing the European Space Agency as its first short-term “project” astronaut. The four conducted research and outreach activities during their

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