Apr 24, 2023
Houston-based company Axiom Space, a leader in commercial human spaceflight and architect of the world’s first commercial space station, and the Swedish National Space Agency, along with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA), have signed a letter of intent to send an ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS) on an upcoming Axiom Space mission.
This historic agreement between ESA, Sweden, and Axiom Space represents the realization of over a decade of work done by U.S. policy makers, international partners, and the commercial industry to ensure the long-term development of a vibrant ecosystem in low-Earth orbit that will benefit every human everywhere.
“Axiom Space’s partnership with the Swedish National Space Agency and ESA symbolizes our efforts to work with countries and organizations around the world to expand the commercial space domain,” said Michael Suffredini, Axiom Space president and CEO. “As we enter this new era of space exploration, Axiom Space is focused on establishing important international partnerships to develop a thriving low-Earth orbit ecosystem and building on the legacy and achievements of the ISS, leveraging the benefits of microgravity to build a better life on Earth.”
ESA’s Director General, Josef Aschbacher, said after signing the letter of intent, “The ESA Astronaut Policy was developed for exactly these opportunities, flying on commercial flights in partnership as we transition Europe’s access to space and diversify the space market. I hope to see more Europeans inside ESA’s space laboratory Columbus on the International Space Station soon.”
The mission and the name of the astronaut will be announced after approval by NASA and its international partners. The ESA astronaut selected for the mission will focus on scientific research and educational outreach.
Axiom Space will manage all aspects of the mission, including providing and coordinating all services required for the preparation and completion. As the crew provider for the mission, ESA will sign an agreement with Axiom Space to define and implement the mission objectives and prepare for all the operational support needed. The Swedish National Space Agency will negotiate directly with Axiom Space for the flight.