The International Space Station photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking on Oct. 4, 2018. NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev executed a fly around of the orbiting laboratory to take pictures of the station before returning home after spending 197 days in space.
NASA and Axiom Space have signed a mission order for the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station and will host a teleconference with media at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 10, to discuss more details about the mission.
NASA has opened up the space station for commercial activities, including private astronaut missions, as part of its plan to develop a robust and competitive economy in low-Earth orbit. NASAs needs in low-Earth orbit such as human research, technology development, and in-flight crew testing will continue after the retirement of the International Space Station. Commercial industry will help meet these needs by providing destinations and transportation capabilities to continue these services as part of a broader low-Earth orbit economy. Enabling private astronaut missions to the station is an important step to stimulate demand for commercial human spaceflight services so that NASA can be one of many customers in low-Earth orbit.
The spaceflight, named Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), is scheduled to launch no earlier than January 2022 for an eight-day mission aboard the orbiting complex. The Axiom Space crew will launch from NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Teleconference participants are:
- Phil McAlister, director, commercial spaceflight development, NASA Headquarters
- Angela Hart, manager, commercial low-Earth orbit development, NASAs Johnson Space Center
- Dana Weigel, deputy manager, International Space Station, Johnson
- Michael Suffredini, president and CEO, Axiom Space
- Michael Lpez-Alegra, vice president and Ax-1 commander, Axiom Space
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