NASA selects Axiom Space to carry out its third astronaut mission to the ISS
Axiom Space’s proposal for the third private astronaut mission to the International Space Station has been chosen yet again by NASA. The two parties have already signed a mission order and hope to launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in November 2023 and beyond. A more precise date will be announced later, as it will be determined by the timing of other flights to the ISS as well as in-orbit activity planning.
Axiom Mission 2 will have to travel to the space station first before Axiom Mission 3 can launch. It is also a crew mission run by the company, and it is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2023. As the name implies, this is not the company’s first astronaut mission to the orbiting laboratory: NASA chose it as the first commercially operated crewed flight to the station. Axiom Mission 1 launched in April 2022 and docked with the International Space Station for 15 days.
Ax-3 is still in its early stages at the moment. The private space company must still submit four proposed crew members and two backup crew members for review to the agency, with the mission commander being a flown NASA astronaut. (For example, retired NASA astronaut Peggy Annette Whitson led Ax-2.) NASA may request that the commander perform particular tasks or scientific experiments while onboard, according to the parties’ agreement. Meanwhile, Axiom Space astronauts will have access to NASA cargo and other in-flight resources on a daily basis.
Axiom Space was chosen not only for these private launches but also for developing the moonwalking spacesuit for NASA’s Artemis programme. The suit will be unveiled today at an event that will be live-streamed on NASA’s website.