Axiom Space, an American company, made public on January 26 the composition of the first fully private space crew. The four men must board a Crew Dragon capsule to reach the ISS.
The privatization of space is undoubtedly advancing. Based in Houston (United States), the private company Axiom Space announced on January 26, 2021, launched its first personal mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for January 2022.
Called AX-1, it will carry four civilians: ex-NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegria (four space flights, 258 days in space, 10 spacewalks), an Israeli businessman and former fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe, as well as two men from North American Affairs, Mark Pathy and Larry Connor. Each paid a whopping $ 55 million to experience life in orbit for 10 days.
Space X is expected to oversee the flight using the Crew Dragon capsule. The launch will occur from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and is expected to be carried out by a Falcon 9 launcher, also built by Space X.
Axiom Space is not the primary company to offer this type of travel. From 2001 to 2009, the American company Space Adventures organized 8 private expeditions for 7 space tourists. Each was supervised by the Russian space agency Roscosmos and used Soyuz spacecraft to carry out transfers to the ISS. The cost of the space ticket was then between 20 and 25 million dollars.
Axiom Space : Towards an “uberization” of space?
Mission AX-1 echoes the healthy growth of private space-focused firms, form Virgin Galactic to Space Adventures. Billionaire Jeff Bezos has always affirmed his interest in democratizing personal. It is commercial suborbital flights through his company Blue Origin created in 2000. Elon Musk, the founder of Space X, revealed in 2018 that Japanese artist Yusaku Maesawa would be a member of a crew carrying out an overflight of the Moon in 2024 (a date which remains very hypothetical).
For its part, Axiom Space is considering a roadmap with regular flights to the ISS, one of the potential passengers being none other than Tom Cruise. The actor hopes to shoot a scene from the next instalment of Mission Impossible in space.