Axiom Space crew successfully launches into space on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

The Axiom Space crew successfully launched into space Sunday evening as they head for the International Space Station for the Ax-2 mission. 

Liftoff happened at 5:37 p.m. EDT Sunday at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew is traveling to the orbiting outpost aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, named Freedom, after launching on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

Peggy Whitson will serve as commander, John Shoffner as pilot, Ali AlQarnias Ax-2 mission specialist, and Rayyanah Barnawi as Ax-2 mission specialist.

Whitson is a biochemist, research scientist and the commander of the Ax-2 mission. Shoffner is the pilot and fiber optics pioneer. AlQarnias will make history as the second Saudi male astronaut. Barnawi will make history as the first Saudi female astronaut to go to space.