Axiom Space and SpaceX have signed an agreement for the former to provide operational support for the Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station slated for 2021.
Axiom said Thursday the crewed flight will support plans to enable temporary habitation at the ISS and serve as a precursor mission under the company's Space Act Agreement with NASA.
The Houston-based firm intends to conduct a maximum of two astronaut flights to the station per year. Axiom also plans to begin construction of its own space station through private funding, according to the company.
Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX and three-time Wash100 winner, said that Axiom and NASA's efforts will enable private crew missions to benefit from “unprecedented access“ to the ISS while “furthering the commercialization of space“.
“This will be just the first of many missions to ISS to be completely crewed and managed by Axiom Space ““ a first for a commercial entity,“ said Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini. “Procuring the transportation marks significant progress toward that goal, and we're glad to be working with SpaceX in this effort.“
Axiom's announcement comes after NASA selected the firm for a potential $140M contract to construct the “Axiom Segment“ habitable modules attached to the ISS by 2024.