NASA selected Axiom Space for the fourth private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, targeted to launch no earlier than August 2024 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida onboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The mission’s name is Axiom Mission 4 (Ax-4) and will be the fourth Axiom mission to the International Space Station, scheduled to launch no earlier than August 2024. While the previous missions are Ax-1 and Ax-2 already successfully completed, and Ax-3 will be launched in early 2024
Axiom Space will submit four candidate crew members for the Ax-4 mission to NASA and its international partners for review. If approved, the prime crew members for the mission will be confirmed.
Private astronauts will have up to 14 days to conduct experiments and research on the International Space Station.
NASA and Axiom Space will work together to ensure that the private astronauts have a safe and productive mission. They will coordinate the astronauts’ activities with the station crew and flight controllers on the ground.
The Ax-4 crew will receive training from NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, JAXA, and SpaceX in preparation for their mission. They will learn about the Dragon spacecraft, the International Space Station, and the different procedures that they will need to follow during their mission.
The training will help the private astronauts to understand systems, procedures, and emergency preparedness for the Dragon spacecraft.
The names of the Ax-3 and Ax-4 mission members have not yet been revealed, but Michael Suffredini, chief executive of Axiom Space, said they are likely to be government-sponsored astronauts.
The first Axiom Missions:
The first Axiom mission to the ISS was the Ax-1, launched on April 8, 2022. It carried four private astronauts, including a former NASA astronaut, Michael López-Alegría, and three private customers: Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy. The crew spent 17 days in orbit including 16 days living and working on the ISS.
The most recent mission was the Ax-2 launched on May 21, 2023. The crew included former NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson, a private customer, John Shoffner, and two government-sponsored astronauts: Ali AlQarni and Rayyanah Barnawi of the Saudi Space Commission.
The crew spent a total of 8 days in space during which they carried out scientific experiments and scientific communication activities with schools connected worldwide.
Each Axiom Space mission to the International Space Station is one step closer to building the Axiom Station: a privately owned commercial station that will replace the ISS.
It will be an accessible platform for private companies and governments to continue the research and development of breakthrough innovations.
The first module is scheduled for launch no earlier than 2025 and will dock at the ISS.
Axiom Space is the only company with the privilege of connecting its modules to the International Space Station.