Axiom Space presents research plans for first ISS mission


LAS VEGAS – The three private astronauts on Axiom Space’s first mission to the International Space Station next February will perform more than 100 hours of research on their flight as the company works to advance plans for its own space station.

Axiom Space announced on November 17 that the three clients it is piloting for the Ax-1 mission, which is scheduled to launch on February 21 on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, will perform 25 experiments during the week or so that they will pass over the station.

Larry Connor, an American real estate entrepreneur, will be doing research for the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic. This research will focus on heart health and the effects of the space environment on spinal and brain tissue.

Mark Pathy, CEO of a Canadian investment firm, will conduct research for several Canadian organizations. This work includes research on chronic pain and sleep disturbances experienced by space travelers, studies on changes in visual acuity, and Earth observation for research on climate change and ecology.

Eytan Stibbe, a former Israeli Air Force pilot who is the founding partner of an “impact investing” fund, will conduct research for the Ramon Foundation and the Israel Space Agency. He will conduct a series of experiments across a wide range of disciplines on a mission called “Rakia” by his Israeli sponsors.

Axiom leaders emphasized the focus of mission research. “This is the first trade mission to the ISS. It’s a pioneer and it’s very research-driven, ”said Christian Maender, director of manufacturing and space research at Axiom, during a panel discussion at the American ASCEND conference. Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics on November 17. “They will be adding an increasingly complex number of projects to the ISS during their mission.

Axiom’s three clients will be joined on this mission by Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut who will be the mission commander. The four are currently in training for the mission, including at the Johnson Space Center.

Ax-1 is the first in a series of private missions that Ax-2 has planned before installing a commercial module there as early as 2024. Maender said the company is targeting the third quarter of 2022 for its Ax-2 mission, with the former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. as a commander and a client, John Shoffner, as a pilot. The company has not announced the other two people flying this mission, and NASA has not confirmed this launch date.

“We’re doing these rounds of missions in order to do a few things,” Maender said. “Firstly to develop markets, but also to do pioneering work towards what will ultimately be our Axiom station. “

Axiom plans to install a series of modules on the ISS starting in 2024, creating a commercial segment that will ultimately be separated from the ISS to form a commercial station. This could happen as early as 2027, he said. “We will be ready to go our separate ways when the company pushes us to go our separate ways and also when the life of the ISS decides that maybe it’s time to go,” he said.

“We applaud the commitment of the Ax-1 crew to advance scientific research and initiate this civilizational leap,” Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space, said in a statement. “We are confident that this mission will become not only a monumental moment in space travel, but the real beginning of delivering for the first time the potential of space for meaningful discoveries to individuals and organizations.”

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