Israel's 2nd astronaut to launch Friday on mission to ISS

Eitan Stibbe's long-awaited Rakia mission, flying as part of the Axiom mission 1, will see 35 experiments conducted on the International Space Station.

The International Space Station (ISS) photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking, October 4, 2018. (photo credit: NASA/Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS)
The International Space Station (ISS) photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking, October 4, 2018.
(photo credit: NASA/Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS)

After several delays, Israel’s second astronaut, Eytan Stibbe, is set to take off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday for the long-awaited Rakia mission.

The mission, led by Israel’s Science and Technology Ministry and the Ramon Foundation, selected 35 different experiments for Stibbe to undertake during his 10-day stay in orbit.

The experiments cover a wide variety of different fields of study, including testing or demonstrating the viability of certain technologies, observing scientific phenomena, studying mechanisms of theorized concepts and groundbreaking tests on food and agriculture.

Stibbe will also bring other items with him that are not related to the mission. They include a scale model of the World Peace Bell, an ancient coin dating back to the time of the Bar-Kochba Revolt and a children’s story, Beauty of the World, written and illustrated by Paul Korr, which Stibbe will read for children while he is in space.

The Rakia mission is being launched as part of Axiom mission 1, the first fully private space mission headed by Houston-based start-up Axiom Space. The four astronauts will be launched on Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The crew are set to dock at the ISS on Saturday.

The Falcon 9 CRS-6 Dragon takes off from Vandenberg Air Force Base off the coast of California on Monday. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)The Falcon 9 CRS-6 Dragon takes off from Vandenberg Air Force Base off the coast of California on Monday. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The mission was originally slated for a March 30 launch, but it was postponed twice to give more time to complete prelaunch processing work.