SpaceX will launch the 4th Axiom mission to the International Space Station no earlier than August 2024. NASA had previously signed a contract for three crewed missions to the Space Station.
Axiom had previously contracted SpaceX to launch 4 Dragon capsules with three private astronauts and 1 Axiom employee, but NASA had only approved three missions to the ISS. With this announcement, NASA confirmed that the 4th trip is on the books for no earlier than August 2024.
Axiom will pay for NASA services, including training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Kennedy Space Center, and also for supplies used while the crew is living aboard the ISS. The mission is currently slated to last for 14 days and has contingencies in place in case weather or other issues prevent the departure of the crew. It has been reported that the three private astronauts pay upwards of $55 million per seat.
The crew, yet to be named, will feature three private astronauts and an Axiom employee. During Ax-1, former NASA astronaut turned Axiom VP Michael López-Alegría was the commander, and for Ax-2, former NASA astronaut and now Axiom’s Director of Human Spaceflight Peggy Whitson served in the role.
Axiom’s third mission to the Space Station is due to launch no earlier than January 2024 and will once again feature Michael López-Alegría as the commander.
Axiom Space isn’t just a “Space Tourism” company, they also won 2 task orders from NASA to design the next Extravehicular Activity suit for use on the Moon during the Artemis missions as well as building Space Station modules that will attach and expand the ISS before its eventual transition to a separate private orbiting outpost in the future.