SpaceX: Axiom Space announced this Wednesday (2) a new agreement with SpaceX to carry out three additional private missions to the International Space Station (ISS), which will take off until 2023. The astronauts will be transported on the Crew Dragon spacecraft, already used on NASA expeditions, powered by the Falcon 9 rocket.
The initial contract was signed between the two companies in May, with the confirmation of the first fully commercial flight to the orbital laboratory, scheduled to depart in January of next year. The Axiom Mission 1 (AX-1) will have four crew members, who will spend eight days in orbit.
Few details regarding the new trips, as a result of the agreement announced now, were revealed. As for the second mission, titled AX-2, Axiom has only confirmed that it will have astronaut Peggy Whitson and racecar driver John Shoffner among the four passengers.
No scheduled departure date for the second flight has been announced, as well as no schedule defined so far for the launch of the AX-3 and AX-4 missions. They must take place sometime between 2022 and 2023, remembering that NASA allows only two private trips per year to the ISS.
Tests and training
All crew members of the four SpaceX and Axiom flights will undergo a period of training given by the American space agency. The training is led by experienced astronauts and makes it possible to know how the Crew Dragon systems and the orbital laboratory work.
Before starting classes, travelers must undergo medical tests and a complete health assessment. Only after approval in these steps will they be released to participate in training.
These new private missions, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, will pave the way for the future space station that Axiom plans to launch in 2028. It has been hailed as the likely successor to the ISS.