SpaceX Could Launch Two Axiom Private Passenger Missions To The Space Station in 2022

by Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo December 13, 2021

SpaceX Could Launch Two Axiom Private Passenger Missions To The Space Station in 2022

SpaceX has performed a total of five crewed missions, three took place in 2021, including the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit the Earth for three days. Next year is expected to be even more exciting for civilian spaceflight because SpaceX will conduct more frequent crewed flights from American soil. Axiom, a privately funded space tourism agency and space station infrastructure developer headquartered in Houston, Texas, purchased SpaceX launch services to conduct four crewed missions to the International Space Station (ISS). “All four crews will receive combined commercial astronaut training from NASA and SpaceX, with SpaceX providing training on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full simulations,” SpaceX stated. “The growing partnership between Axiom and SpaceX will enable more opportunities for more humans in space on the road to making humanity multiplanetary.” The first two private passenger missions, known as AX-1 and AX-2, are planned for 2022. 

The AX-1 mission could liftoff as soon as February next year. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will propel a Crew Dragon spacecraft orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The AX-1 crewmembers are: former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, who will serve as Ax-1 mission commander; Entrepreneur Larry Connor, who will serve as Dragon pilot; Investor/philantropist Mark Pathy, will serve as mission specialist, alongside former Israeli Air Force pilot Eytan Stibbe. They are expected to stay at the Space Station for around eight days. The AX-1 crew will conduct 25 science research experiments at the orbiting laboratory ranging from medical research to technology development. Axiom arranged their time at the ISS with NASA. As part of their agreement, Axiom purchased vital necessities from NASA, like in-orbit life support equipment and food for the AX-1 crew to enjoy at the Station. The agency also plans to purchase from Axiom the capability to return scientific samples aboard SpaceX Dragon that must be kept cold in transit back to Earth.

NASA announced this week that they are working with Axiom to prepare for the second crewed flight, AX-2. “NASA will negotiate with Axiom on a mission order agreement for the Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) targeted to launch between fall 2022 and late spring 2023,” the agency said in a press release on December 13. Axiom has only announced two out of four AX-2 crewmembers who are: former NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson who will serve as mission commander, and John Shoffner as spacecraft pilot. They will also liftoff atop SpaceX’s rocket aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft. “Ax-2 will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a mission of no more than 14 days docked to the space station. NASA and Axiom will negotiate in-orbit activities for the private astronauts to conduct in coordination with space station crew members and flight controllers on the ground. The Ax-2 mission concept includes scientific research and outreach activities,” the agency said. 

Hollywood actor Tom Cruise also purchased a crewed mission to ISS from Axiom to film a movie in outer space! It is unknown exactly when he will launch aboard Crew Dragon but it is confirmed that he will travel to space with film producer Doug Liman in the near-future. Axiom has not made public how much it charges for its space tourism missions. Dragon has a price-tag of around $55 million per seat, and NASA opened path for commercial trips to the Space Station at $35,000 USD per person per day.

 

Featured Image Source: NASA








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