NASA recently announced that the Axion Space startap, founded in 2016, was selected as a developer for the first commercial habitat module for the International Space Station (International Space Station or ISS). The intention is to create the new module so that tests can be done to simulate future space missions commercial missions. In this way, it will be possible to carry out housing experiments, development of related technologies and several other applications, carried out by commercial travelers who will stay on the ISS through spaceships for common crew such as, for example, the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Boeing Starliner (when they start their operations).
Axiom intends in the future to make its modules in space become its own space station
The company selected by NASA, Axiom Space, was created and managed by Michael T. Suffredini, previously responsible for managing programs on the ISS at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The company has a number of talented employees who have previously worked at NASA which makes up its small team. In the future, Axiom intends to make its modules in space become the basis of its own space station, after attaching them ISS while it is in operation.
According to information from NASA, the planned service life for the ISS has been extended with the purpose of encouraging the assembly of proven orbital laboratories and commercial installations. With that, the structure can be replaced gradually.
In 2018, Axion hired designer Philippe Starck, responsible for designing a luxury yacht for Steve Jobs. The partnership aimed to obtain projects on what the future modules of the space station will be like, including details such as rooms with interactive screens and a capsule to observe the Earth and the surrounding space.
The module that will be created to be coupled to ISS, cannot be considered a private space station in fact. However, it will be one more step to commercialize the existing space station and thereby pave the way for more commercial activities around the Earth. In the Axiom contract with NASA, the permission for "at least one habitable commercial module" is described, that is, there is the possibility of giving other opportunities to build more modules.
The next step in the negotiation between NASA and Axiom is to determine the contract terms and prices for the module, which will include a timeline for delivery.
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