Axiom Space, a privately funded aeronautics company based in Texas, has begun construction of the world’s first private space station, scheduled to be completed by 2024.
The company is concerned with commercialised space travel and tourism, as well as conducting space research and exploration. Axiom has been involved in every mission to the International Space Station since the programs inception, and the company is stacked with ex-NASA employees who have expertise in the aeronautics industry. Its CEO, Michael T. Suffredini was the program manager for the ISS from 2005 to 2015, and then joined Axiom Space to pursue the commercialised spaceflight market.
Axiom’s Ax-1 mission plans to commence on February 21, 2022, with SpaceX being the mission operator in its Dragon spacecraft. The mission will see both professional and non-professional astronauts board the ISS for eight days. Further Axiom missions to the ISS with SpaceX are also scheduled in the coming years after the two space manufacturing companies signed a contract last year.
According to their website, Axiom Space “works to expand the community of spacefaring nations and globalize the benefits of microgravity.”
“We utilize our singular human spaceflight engineering, training, operations, and program management expertise to help governments build human spaceflight programs and fly their astronauts on missions to space. These programs promote the growth of high-tech industries, stimulate the economy, inspire youth to pursue STEM education, and are a source of national pride and international respect.”
Axiom Space on Twitter announced they are beginning construction on the world’s first private space station, to coincide with the private missions to the ISS they are currently operating.
“Once fully assembled, Axiom Station will nearly double the useable volume of the International Space Station. Between station elements, hatches provide access and maintain atmospheric pressure when closed. Designed for a variety of users, the mechanisms to close the hatch will seal under a predetermined input force. Utilizing a development unit built in-house, our structures team has successfully validated the design through seal compression and actuation force measurements. The team will continue to evaluate the hatch design as other station systems are integrated.”