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Israel's second-ever astronaut Eitan Stibbe

Israel's Second Astronaut Launched into Space

The final countdown to the launch of the Rakia mission was heard in Cape Canaveral, and Eitan Stibbe will become Israel's second-ever astronaut as he flies onboard 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.

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 was set to dock at the ISS on Saturday, April 9.

The mission was originally slated for a March 30 launch, but it was postponed twice to give more time to complete pre-launch processing work. (JPost / VFI News)

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