Aug 4, 2023
NASA and Axiom Space have signed a mission order for the fourth private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), marking the Houston-based company and space industry leader as the only full-service mission provider to carry out end-to-end commercial astronaut missions to the orbiting laboratory.
Axiom Mission 4 (Ax-4) is targeted to launch no earlier than August 2024 from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is expected to spend up to 14 days docked to the space station. The Ax-4 crew members will train with NASA, international partners, and SpaceX for their flight. Axiom Space has contracted SpaceX as launch provider for transportation to and from the space station, and to familiarize the private astronauts with systems, procedures, and emergency preparedness for the Dragon spacecraft.
"Our Axiom Space team is looking forward to a fourth mission to the ISS,” said Michael Suffredini, CEO and president of Axiom Space. “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). These missions are instrumental in expanding commercial space activities and access to space for individuals and nations around the world, as well as developing the knowledge and experience needed to normalize living and working in microgravity.”
The first mission order for a private astronaut mission to the ISS was signed by NASA and Axiom Space in May 2021. Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), which launched on April 8, 2022, successfully demonstrated Axiom Space’s ability to integrate with the ISS program and processes and conduct meaningful research in LEO. In August 2022, a second NASA mission order was signed with Axiom Space for Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2). Ax-2 successfully launched on May 21, 2023, to include the first female to command a commercial human spaceflight mission, the first Saudi astronauts to live and work on the ISS, and the first Saudi female astronaut to go to space. And just a few months ago, in March 2023, NASA and Axiom Space signed a mission order for a third private astronaut mission, Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3), which is targeted to launch no earlier than January 2024 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Axiom Space’s broad range of human spaceflight services include access to training facilities and instructors, hardware and safety certification, and operational on-orbit management. Candidates for flight complete Axiom Space’s rigorous training curriculum over many months in preparation to live and conduct meaningful work in space. The expert team at Axiom Space is helping nations and organizations build human spaceflight programs, develop astronaut selection processes, and expand the community of space explorers to a larger and more diverse representation of humanity.