NASA signs contract with Axiom Space for 2nd private astronaut mission to ISS

Insight Online News

Washington, Dec 14 : NASA has signed a new contract with private company Axiom Space to launch the second space tourist mission to the International Space Station (ISS) as the first crew gears up for launch in February.

“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,” NASA said in a statement published Monday.

The value of the contract has not yet been reported. At the same time, NASA announced that the spaceflight, designated as Axiom Mission 2, the mission will be launched from its Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will last 14 days.

“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 statement said.

The selection of private astronauts will be conducted by Axiom Space. However, NASA and its international partners in the ISS will first evaluate the proposal and then decide on its approval to ensure the success of the mission, the organization specified.

NASA and Axiom’s first private astronaut mission to the ISS is expected to take place no earlier than February 21, 2022. The launch will be carried out by SpaceX-operated Crew Dragon. The crew proposed by Axiom is supposed to include Axiom Space Vice President and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, American real estate and technology entrepreneur Larry Connor, Canadian investor Mark Pathy and Israeli entrepreneur Eytan Stibbe. Meanwhile, the approval of the crew by NASA has not yet been formally completed.

Axiom Space is owned by Michael Suffredini, who managed the ISS program at NASA from 2005 to 2015, and American entrepreneur Kam Ghaffarian. In addition to sending tourists into space, the company has been developing a private space station.


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