The expedition team at the ISS could meet some new faces in the upcoming year. SpaceX has signed a contract with Axiom Space. It is a startup company that aims to take tourists and other people to the ISS. On Thursday, the company said the flight would include a company-trained commander and three private passengers. Notably, the first-ever private or commercial mission to the orbiting space lab could take off as early as the second half of the upcoming year. The companies aim to use SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket for the mission. Before this, people have traveled to the ISS aboard Soyuz spacecraft of Russia. But it is the first time passengers will fly from American soil.
Axiom said the mission would enable the three passengers to reside aboard the ISS. Even more, they will get an opportunity to experience a minimum of eight days of zero gravity. During the trip, the trio will also gain incredible views of our planet from the colossal, venerable station. For Michal Suffredini, Axiom Space CEO, the journey marks an extension of his previous work as manager of NASA’s ISS. He said this record-setting launch would represent a seminal moment in an effort to universal and repetitive access to space. Axiom said the private spaceflight would also consist of mission planning, training, life support, hardware and development, and medical support. Apart from this, it will include comprehensive mission management and in-orbit operations.
In 2019, NASA announced that it aims to boost private-sector development in the lower orbit of the Earth. Even more, the American space agency aims to have a minimum of one commercial unit to append to the ISS. In this effort, the American space agency selected Axiom Space on January 27. Notably, the bid also calls for the overall development of independent space stations. Meanwhile, SpaceX and Boeing are moving ahead with work to prepare commercially developed space vehicles. Even more, both are developing crew capsules under an agreement with NASA for crewed spaceflights by the end of the current year.