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Axiom strikes tourist deal with SpaceX for three more flights

Capitalism in space: Axiom today announced that it had signed a deal with SpaceX to use its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket to launch three more manned tourist missions following the first now scheduled for January.

Ax-1, Axiom’s historic first private ISS mission, has already been approved by NASA and targeted for launch to the ISS no earlier than Jan. 2022, also aboard Dragon as a result of a deal the companies signed in March 2020. Axiom last week revealed legendary astronaut Peggy Whitson and champion GT racer John Shoffner would serve as commander and pilot on its proposed Ax-2 mission – now confirmed to be a Dragon flight.

So, too, are Ax-3 and Ax-4.

Other than Whitson and Shoffner, the company has not revealed who will fly on those three additional flights. That it made this deal however strongly suggests that it has ample demand for seats and will fill those capsules with no problem.

The press release also reiterates the company’s space station plans. They will begin attaching their own modules to ISS in ’24, with the goal of detaching from the station in ’28 and operating as an independent entirely private station thereafter.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

5 comments

  • David K

    Two questions:

    Will Tom Cruise be on one of these? Last year there was news that they might film something, but nothing recently.

    Does anyone think that axiom can add a rotating component to the station for artificial gravity in the next decade or so? IMHO that is a must have for a second gen station even if is at or even lower than lunar gravity.

  • humphreyrobotH

    Mile high club has upcoming stiff competition.

  • A. Nonymous

    If you want gravity, you’re gonna need a much bigger station. Small rotating compartments will just make people sick.

    Besides, there’s no longer any reason to use that wonky orbital plane anymore; if you build a new station, with new components, you can put it in a much lower inclination now that there’s no requirement to buy off the Russians.

  • Michael

    That raises an interesting point. Will the Axiom station station be restricted to the same orbital plane?

  • Edward

    David K asked: “Does anyone think that axiom can add a rotating component to the station for artificial gravity in the next decade or so?

    There are some ideas for building a spinning space station out of modules, however, they generally require a large number of modules.
    https://newatlas.com/gateway-foundation-von-braun-rotating-space-station/58528/

    Unless someone gets more creative, spinning space stations may be decades away. I suspect that Starships could be used in a creative way to make a different, smaller design. Perhaps one Starship could form a hub, and two more extend in opposite directions, like spokes without the attached wheel, to create several floors of lab space, each floor with a different gravity.

    Michael asked: “That raises an interesting point. Will the Axiom station station be restricted to the same orbital plane?

    The station that they release from the ISS in 2028, or so, will probably remain in the same or nearby plane. It takes a large amount of delta v to make large plane changes, and we already know that Dragon and Starliner can get crews and passengers to that plane. A manned Dream Chaser would also likely be able to reach that plane, too.

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