The Crew Dragon capsule sits on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in Launch Complex 39-A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Friday, May 29, 2020.
Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images
Private space specialist Axiom Space announced a deal with SpaceX on Wednesday that will add three more manned flights to the International Space Station and carry out the missions planned overall Elon Musks Four companies.
“We are very excited to build on our partnership with Axiom to make human spaceflight more accessible to more people,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX, in a statement. “A new era in manned space travel is here.”
The Houston-based Axiom had previously announced its Ax-1 mission would launch with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule, and now the Ax-2, Ax-3 and Ax-4 missions are also available.
Ax-1 is currently slated to hit the market in January 2022.
The view from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft from the International Space Station and from Resilience’s Crew Dragon space probe as the capsule approached docking on April 24, 2021.
Musk’s company has made three Crew Dragon flights to the space station so far, all of them as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program and with government astronauts. SpaceX has so far flown 10 astronauts into orbit, with a full schedule of both government and private Crew Dragon missions for the coming year.
“SpaceX paved the way with reliable, commercial human launch capabilities and we are delighted to be working with them in a truly historic moment,” said Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom, in a statement.
While Axiom refused to comment on the financial details of the deal, NASA is paying SpaceX about $ 55 million per astronaut to fly to the space station – an idea of the high cost of a private flight into orbit. Although SpaceX is providing the rocket and capsule, Axiom oversees management of the mission from training to return to Earth.
Axiom calls these private flights “legacy missions,” like The Unicorn Space Company is building habitable modules that will be connected to the ISS, as well as operate independently in orbit.