In May last year NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the agency will collaborate with Hollywood action movie actor Tom Cruise to film a movie at the International Space Station (ISS). “NASA is excited to work with Tom Cruise on a film aboard the Space Station! We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA’s ambitious plans a reality,” Bridenstine stated via Twitter – “Should be a lot of fun!” the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk said in response. Cruise will launch aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, that will be launched into orbit atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Should be a lot of fun!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 5, 2020
Tom Cruise’s flight is managed by Axiom Space, a start-up from Houston, Texas, founded by Michael Suffredini who served as NASA’s Space Station Program Manager from 2005 to 2015. Axiom offers space tours for civilians to visit ISS. The company also has ambitious plans to build a space station in low Earth orbit to continue operations once NASA retires the ISS program and moves beyond the orbiting laboratory to focus operations on the lunar surface.
Axiom signed a deal with SpaceX to launch a crew of four passengers aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Among the four passengers are Tom Cruise, film producer Doug Liman, and Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe; They will fly alongside NASA Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who will be mission commander. During the mission called 'AX-1', they will embark on a 10-day voyage to the Space Station and experience beautiful views of Earth. The AX-1 space tour is currently scheduled for October. “… Thanks to Axiom and their support from NASA, privately crewed missions will have unprecedented access to the space station, furthering the commercialization of space and helping usher in a new era of human exploration,” the President of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell stated.
Axiom did not release details on how much it will pay SpaceX to fly its four-person crew to the orbiting laboratory this year. However, Dragon has a price-tag of around $55 million per seat, and NASA said last year it opened a path for commercial trips to the Space Station, stating it would charge $35,000 per person per day for private stays.
Image Source: NASA