Home Technology NASA partners with Axiom Space for fourth private mission to International Space Station in 2024

NASA partners with Axiom Space for fourth private mission to International Space Station in 2024

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NASA partners with Axiom Space for fourth private mission to International Space Station in 2024

NASA announced Thursday that it signed a mission order with Axiom Space for a fourth crew to visit the International Space Station, with no specific launch date. 

Axiom Mission 4 (Ax-4) is expected to spend up to 14 days docked to the space station. A launch date for the fourth private astronaut mission is expected to occur no earlier than August 2024, NASA said. 

The crew will depart for space from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is pictured docked to the space-facing port on the International Space Station’s Harmony module. Dragon carried four Axiom Mission 2 astronauts to the orbital laboratory on May 22. On Thursday, NASA announced Axiom will v (NASA)

“I am pleased to see another milestone in our efforts to transition low Earth orbit from primarily a government-sponsored activity to one where NASA is one of many customers,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial space at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 

“NASA has been directed to develop commercial platforms to sustain a continuous United States presence in low Earth orbit and to transition beyond International Space Station operations,” he added. “These private astronaut missions are helping to pave the way for that transition.”

The Axiom crew members will train with NASA and SpaceX for their flight. Axiom said it has contacted SpaceX as the launch provider to and from the space station. 

“Our Axiom Space team is looking forward to a fourth mission to the ISS,” said company President and CEO, Michael Suffredini. “Each mission allows us to build on the foundation we have set for the world’s first commercial space station, Axiom Station, preparing our teams and orbital platform to succeed ISS operations in low-Earth orbit (LEO).

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NASA and Axiom first signed a mission order in 2021. A second mission was launched on May 21, which included the first Saudi astronauts, including the first Saudi female to go to space, to live and work at the space station. 

A third is set to launch no earlier than January 2024. 

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