A few decades ago, the idea of individuals traveling to the International Space Station was as much science fiction as it was a time travel police station. And yet, here we are, in 2024, and there is a crew of four private astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The team will spend about two weeks conducting various experiments, business activities and outreach tasks.
Axiom Space was founded in 2016 by Michael Suffredini and Kam Ghaffarian. Their goal is to arrange private missions into space, chief among them the International Space Station, but they are also working on developing spacesuits for future NASA missions to the Moon. In order to achieve these goals, the Axiom Space team has a wonderful dream that “we are on a mission to uncover.” [space] “For as many people as possible.”
On January 18, four private astronauts were launched to the International Space Station aboard the Dragon spacecraft, propelled by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The special mission was the third of its kind for Axiom Space, with the first flying in April 2022 and the second in May 2023. The crew for this mission consists of Commander Michael Lopez Alegría, Pilot Walter Velade, and Mission Specialists Markus Wandt and Alber. Gezeravsi.
The crew arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, January 20, when the Dragon module independently docked with the Harmony module. When the hatch opens, the Axiom crew will be greeted by the Expedition 70 crew including NASA astronauts Jasmine Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA astronaut Furukawa Satoshi, and astronauts Konstantin Borisov, Oleg Kononenko, and Nikolai Chub.
AX-3 (as this mission is called) is scheduled to leave the International Space Station on Saturday, February 3, weather permitting. They will have spent two weeks on board before returning to Earth, landing on a wet surface off the coast of Florida.
Axiom Space and its partnership with NASA are doing great things, opening low-Earth orbit to more and more people. In the 1950s and 1960s we witnessed the Space Race as America and Russia fought to become the first in space and put a human on the moon. The landscape of space travel and exploration has now changed. Partnerships between large space organizations like NASA and private enterprises like Axiom are driving a thriving commercial space economy that may open up space to all of us once and for all.
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