NASA SELECTS SECOND PRIVATE ASTRONAUT MISSION TO SPACE STATION

Credit: NASA

NASA has selected Axiom Space for the second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. 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. 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.

NASA and its international partners will review private astronauts selections proposed by Axiom for the Ax-2 mission, as is standard for any space station crew. The proposed crew members would undergo NASA medical qualification testing to be approved for flight. NASA evaluated the mission proposal based on Axiom’s ability to execute it successfully, NASA’s ability to support it, and its contribution to the agency’s mission and goal of low-Earth orbit commercialization. This mission is subject to NASA’s updated pricing policy for private astronaut missions, which reflects the full value of costs to the agency that are above space station baseline capabilities.

Progress continues toward NASA and Axiom’s first private astronaut mission to the space station, Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), which is scheduled to launch no earlier than Feb. 21, 2022. Axiom’s proposed crew members still are completing final evaluations by NASA and its international partners. The agency did not make a selection for a third private astronaut mission from its June 2021 research announcement. NASA will gather lessons learned from the first private astronaut flight as well as other applicable station activities and announce a new flight opportunity in the future.

Find more information about NASA’s efforts to build a robust low-Earth orbit economy at: https://www.nasa.gov/leo-economy

Source: Axiom Space / NASA

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.