Axiom Space has assembled the first private crew bound for the International Space Station. Three investors turned Axiom customers will join a former NASA astronaut to conduct a non-government mission in space. The mission dubbed Ax-1 will rely on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft to transport the four men to and from the space station.
- Michael López-Alegría / Ax-1 Commander / Former NASA astronaut and Axiom Space VP
- Larry Connor (USA) / Ax-1 Pilot / Entrepreneur and non-profit activist investor
- Mark Pathy (Canada) / Ax-1 Mission Specialist / Investor and philanthropist
- Eytan Stibbe (Israel) / Ax-1 Mission Specialist / Impact investor and philanthropist
Axiom Space and the upcoming Ax-1 mission demonstrate the state of space travel and space commerce. While Axiom promises to create on-orbit activities for each crew member, the bigger picture is perhaps more important.
Ax-1 is certainly limited to extraordinarily wealthy businessmen who can afford to pay to train to live and work in space, but the opportunity is only available because of the work of SpaceX and the decades-long investment in the International Space Station.
Axiom Space is already tackling the latter half of the equation with plans for its own private space station not created by government agencies.
The Axiom Station’s modules will be attached to the Harmony node of the ISS beginning as early as 2024, a commercial expansion of the orbiting lab for which NASA selected Axiom in January 2020.
At ISS retirement, the Axiom Station will separate to form the world’s first free-flying, privately developed, internationally available space station – the central node of a near-future network of research, manufacturing, and commerce in LEO.
Ax-1 will take flight “no earlier than January 2022” according to the latest timeline, and Axiom hopes to conduct up to two similar missions per year in the future.