One giant step closer for mankind to living, working in space

TEXAS – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected Axiom Space to develop a commercial space station that could replace the International Space Station (ISS).

Axiom will launch a node module, research, and manufacturing facility, crew habitat, and large-windowed Earth observatory by the latter half of 2024 to form the “Axiom Segment” of the ISS.

“There is a fantastically steep learning curve to human spaceflight,” said former NASA ISS Program Manager Michael Suffredini. “The collective experience at Axiom is quite far along with it. Because we know firsthand what works and what doesn’t in LEO, we are innovating in terms of design, engineering, and process while maintaining safety and dramatically lowering costs.”

The new commercial platform will increase the usable and habitable volume of the ISS, provide for novel avenues of research in areas such as isolation studies and Earth observation, and allow a gradual transfer of the innovative work being done on-station to prevent interruptions when the ISS is ultimately retired.

“Our goal is to advance the state of humanity and human knowledge,” said Dr. Kam Ghaffarian, Axiom’s executive chairman. “I am glad to see the Axiom team, with its advanced human spaceflight, engineering, and operations expertise, recognized for its potential to do just that and build off of ISS.”

Axiom provides the infrastructure in space for a variety of users to conduct research, discover new technologies, and test systems for exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Team Axiom also includes Boeing, Thales Alenia Space Italy, Intuitive Machines, and Maxar Technologies.

Central to the selection was the Axiom leadership team’s extensive high-level expertise in human spaceflight management, space systems engineering and operations, utilization of microgravity, space finance, marketing, and law.

Axiom was founded in 2016 with the purpose of expanding human civilization into Earth orbit. In addition to building and launching the Axiom Segment, the company will launch crewed flights to the ISS and later the ISS/Axiom complex at a rate of about two to three flights per year. 

Shortly before ISS is retired, Axiom will launch its large power platform to provide the Axiom Segment power and cooling that ISS previously provided.

When the ISS reaches its decommissioning date, the Axiom Segment will detach and continue as a free-flying, internationally available commercial space station. This station will have been built at a fraction of the cost of ISS, the elimination of whose operating costs will enable NASA to dive headlong into a new era of exploration.

-george@albertapressleader.ca

READ MORE: NASA announces 11 new astronauts ready for Space Station, Moon, and Mars missions

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