Hollywood actor Tom Cruise does not shy away from adventure. He is known for performing his own stunts in action films. He is now preparing to film a movie in outer space. Cruise's production agency contracted Axiom’s space tour and astronaut training services to manage the mission to film the first out of this world movie. Axiom will collaborate with NASA and selected SpaceX to launch Cruise alongside three passengers to the International Space Station (ISS) next year.
The Chief Executive Officer at Axiom Mike Suffredini said the company will seal the deal with all its partners for Cruise’s next adventure. The contracts with NASA and SpaceX will be completed in the coming weeks. – “This really is going to be the first commercial flight, so, NASA is working with us to work through all of the unique aspects of that,” Suffredini told SpaceflightNow reporters, “It’s a short duration flight. So, it’ll be relatively easy to implement. I say easy, but nothing’s easy in spaceflight. But it’s as simple of a mission as we could be doing, which makes it good for all us,” he said. “We’ve sorted out almost all the big details. I have to have a contract with NASA, where they affirm our ability to go fly, what the date is, what the requirements they want to levy on us officially are. So, we’ve got to get the contract done.”
Axiom targets to launch Cruise to space sometime before the end of October 2021. “We’ve got to sign the contracts with our three customers, which we largely already have in place, and sign an update to the SpaceX contract,” Suffredini told reporters. “We want to do that all together. We’re aiming for the end of September, but I’m guessing if we get it done before the end of October closes out, that’ll be a success.”
“Our customers are private astronauts on these flights, but we don’t fly any private astronauts without a professional astronaut,” Suffredini said, “So, the flight will have four seats. We’ll have three customers and an Axiom professional astronaut.” Cruise will ride SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft alongside producer Doug Liman who will film the first movie in outer space. One of the passengers will be former NASA Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria. He is heading back to orbit as Axiom’s commander for the movie production, to ensure the civilian passengers stay safe. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will propel Dragon to orbit towards the Space Station where they will stay for eight days to film in microgravity and enjoy beautiful views of Earth.
Suffredini also shared with reporters that Axiom will train the civilian passengers for 15 weeks for the mission that will last 10 days. “Because we train at NASA facilities on the ground, there’s some liability there we have to sort through… Then we have liabilities once we enter the sphere around the ISS, and that’s being sorted out,” he stated. “The big thing … is that we hold the commercial entities responsible for their aspects of the flight. So, SpaceX provides the ascent and re-entry, and that’s their responsibility. And we’re responsible for the crew’s overall training, their medical well-being, everything they do on ISS,” he added.