ISS to welcome the first private astronaut mission from a US-based startup
The company is lauding the launch. NASA and other industry actors as a turning point for the latest expansion commercial space ventures collectively called the “low-Earth orbit economy”, or “LEO economy” by insiders.
Weather permitting Axiom The four-man team of astronauts will take off Friday morning from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida. They will be riding on a Falcon 9 rocket that has been furnished and flown by. Elon Musk SpaceX is a commercial space launch company.
Launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday. Axiom did not provide any explanation for the delay but stated on its website that it was still processing pre-launch preparations. If everything goes well, the retired NASA astronaut Michael Lopez Alegria and his quartet would reach the space station around 28 hours after they had received their SpaceX-supplied supplies. Crew Dragon Capsule docks at ISS approximately 250 miles (4 km) above Earth.
Lopez-Alegria (63), is a Spanish-born mission commander. He also serves as Axiom’s vice president for business development. Larry Connor, a technology entrepreneur and an aerobatics aviator from Ohio, will be joining him. Connor is now in his 70s, but the company didn’t give his exact age.
Rounding out the Ax-1 team are investor-philanthropist and former Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe, 64, and Canadian businessman and philanthropist Mark Pathy, 52, both serving as mission specialists. Stibbe will be the second Israeli astronaut after Ilan Ramon who died with six of his NASA colleagues in the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003.
It may seem that the Ax-1 crew has a lot to do with the billionaires who have been taking suborbital trips on the Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin services. Jeff Bezos And Richard Branson , respectively. However, Axiom executives stated that their mission is much more substantial.
Lopez-Alegria stated that “we are not space tourists” during a recent news conference. He also said that the Axiom crew has completed extensive astronaut training with NASA and SpaceX, and will continue to perform meaningful biomedical research.
Kam Ghaffarian (Axiom’s executive chairman and co-founder) said to Reuters that “it is the beginning of many beginnings in commercializing low-Earth orbit.” “We are like the early days for the internet and haven’t imagined all of the possibilities, all of the capabilities that we will be providing in space.
Ax-1 will carry equipment and supplies to conduct 26 science and technology experiments before they leave orbit and return to Earth 10 day later. Executives from the company said that these include research on brain health and cancer, as well as demonstrations of technology to make optics by using microgravity’s surface tension.
ISS was launched to orbit in 1998. Since then, it has been continuously occupied by a U.S. and Russian-led partnership that includes Canada, Japan, and 11 European countries.
Although the space station has been visited by civilians from time to time it was not in its original purpose of being an orbiting laboratory, the Ax-1 mission will be the first commercial team of astronauts to use it.
They will share the space with seven other regular crew members of ISS – three U.S. astronauts and a German astronaut, as well as three Russian cosmonauts.
Axiom announced that it has signed a contract with SpaceX for three additional missions to orbit in the next two-years. NASA chose Axiom to develop and design a commercial wing for the space station in 2020. It currently covers an area the size of a football pitch. According to the company, flight hardware for the first Axiom Module is being manufactured at the moment.
Ghaffarian stated that plans call for the eventual detachment of Axiom modules and the rest from the outpost around 2030. This will leave the smaller Axiom station orbit in orbit as a non-commercial platform.
After the ISS is retired, private operators will likely place their stations in orbit.
Kathy Lueders (associate NASA administrator for space operations) described Axiom’s role in a recent teleconference. “This is going be an important partnership going ahead.”