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Thu, May 04, 2023

Second Axiom ISS Mission Delayed Indefinitely

All Dressed Up …

Axiom Space‘s second all-private mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has been postponed indefinitely.

The mission, dubbed Ax-2, was planned for 08 May 2023.

Of the cancellation, Axiom Space tweeted: “The Ax-2 crew is ready for their mission to the @space_station. While the #Ax2 launch is no longer planned for May 8, our team is working closely with @NASA & @SpaceX to identify upcoming launch opportunities. More details will be released soon.”

Upon the Ax-2 mission’s eventual launch, the four-member Axiom crew will be led by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who will be joined by pilot John Shoffner and mission specialists Ali AlQarni and Rayyanah Barnawi of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The mission, which will be the first private enterprise to include both private astronauts and astronauts representing foreign governments, will see the crew launch aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, dock with the ISS, and remain aboard the station for ten days, during which they will see to an itinerary comprising scientific, outreach, and commercial objectives.

Axion Space president and CEO Michael Suffredini remarked: “Axiom Space’s second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station cements our mission of expanding access to space worldwide and supporting the growth of the low-Earth orbit economy as we build Axiom Station. Ax-2 moves Axiom Space one step closer toward the realization of a commercial space station in low-Earth orbit and enables us to build on the legacy and achievements of the station, leveraging the benefits of microgravity to better life on Earth.”

Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, launched 08 April 2022 carrying a quartet of private astronauts who spent 17 days in orbit, working on 26 scientific payloads aboard the ISS and conducting more than thirty STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) educational and public outreach experiments. The crew splashed down off the coast of Florida on April 25, 2022, to conclude the mission.

Private astronaut missions to the International Space Station are an ostensible precursor to privately funded commercial space stations and, in the near-term, support NASA’s efforts to develop a thriving low-Earth orbit ecosystem and marketplace. NASA is currently reviewing proposals for the third and fourth private astronaut missions to the ISS.

For more than 22 years, NASA has supported a continuous U.S. human presence in low-Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station. The agency's goal is to enable a strong, commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit, of which NASA is one of numerous customers serviced by private industry. The stated strategy is intended to provide services required by the U.S. federal government at a lower cost, thereby enabling NASA to focus on its Artemis lunar missions in preparation for journeys to Mars, while continuing to use low-Earth orbit as a training and proving ground for future deep space missions.



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