Israel's second astronaut launched into space

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

 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  (photo credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(photo credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)

The final countdown to the launch of the Rakia mission was heard in Cape Canaveral, and Eitan Stibbe became Israel's second-ever astronaut as he flies on board the Axiom mission 1 (Ax-1) to the International Space Station.

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.

 Israel's second-ever astronaut Eitan Stibbe is seen suited up ahead of the launch of the Rakia mission as part of Ax-1. (credit: Courtesy SpaceX) Israel's second-ever astronaut Eitan Stibbe is seen suited up ahead of the launch of the Rakia mission as part of Ax-1. (credit: Courtesy SpaceX)

Also on board with Stibbe is a sculpture made by Tel Aviv University physicist Dr. Yasmine Meroz and artist Liat Segal. Dubbed the "Impossible Object," this water sculpture can only form in space amid the absence of gravity. The sculpture is made of brass pipes and rods that carry water. In zero gravity conditions, the water envelops the brass to form a 3D shape that resembles an endless staircase.

Ax-1 is the first fully private space mission headed by Houston-based start-up Axiom Space. The four took off 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 mission was originally slated for a March 30 launch, but it was postponed twice to give more time to complete prelaunch processing work.