Holding on to each other to keep from floating away, the newcomers from the Axiom 3 mission (Ax-3) pose up front for a crowded crew picture on the International Space Station. There are 11 people and eight nationalities currently onboard the orbital complex.
ESA project astronaut Marcus Wandt, on the left and with a Swedish flag on his flight suit, became the 677th person to go to space on 20 January when the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft seamlessly docked with the Space Station.
The Expedition 70 crew members were waiting for him and his Axiom 3 colleagues Walter Villadei from Italy, Alper Gezeravcı from Türkiye and Michael López-Alegría, a dual US-Spanish citizen.
“It was very strange to have someone knock on the hatch after 36 hours travelling in the capsule,” said Marcus during the welcome ceremony. It was 12:16 GMT (13:16 CET) when a ’weightless’ Marcus went through the hatch of the Harmony module, marking the start of his Muninn mission.
Right behind him in this space family picture is his friend, colleague and Station’s commander Andreas Mogensen from Denmark. This is the first time two Scandinavians are together in space.
A happy Marcus spent his first day in space settling in for his two-week stay. He set up his belongings in Europe’s CASA sleeping crew quarters in the Columbus laboratory, began unloading the cargo from the Dragon capsule and synced up with the Expedition 70 crew members to live and work together in their new space home.
After his first night’s sleep on the Space Station, the Ax-3 crew finished unpacking the Dragon cargo to begin a full slate of microgravity research, technology demonstrations and outreach activities.
In total, Marcus will run around 20 experiments, ranging from studies into how the design of space habitats affects an astronaut’s stress levels to unravelling the changes in cellular structures and gene expression in microgravity. He will also take part in educational programmes.
The mission is scheduled to conclude on 3 February with undocking, culminating in a splashdown off the coast of Florida aboard the Dragon spacecraft.
Follow Marcus’s journey on the Muninn website, check our launch kit in English or Swedish and connect with Marcus on his Instagram and X accounts.