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  Axiom Space Ax-2 private mission to ISS

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Author Topic:   Axiom Space Ax-2 private mission to ISS
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 47547
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-25-2021 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Axiom Space release
Record-holding astronaut Peggy Whitson and mission pilot John Shoffner to lead Axiom Space's Ax-2 mission to enable new research in space

Axiom Space on Tuesday (May 25) revealed the commander and pilot of its second commercial mission proposed to fly to the International Space Station and announced the proposed crew's intended research while on orbit. Axiom will compete to fly the Ax-2 mission when NASA announces the next private astronaut mission opportunity. If awarded, Ax-2 will further the Houston-based space infrastructure leader's expansion of the commercial human spaceflight market and cement the research opportunities it can make possible for private industry in low-Earth orbit.

Above: Axiom Space Ax-2 Commander Peggy Whitson and Pilot John Shoffner.

Whitson, one of the world's most revered astronauts who during a 22-year career at NASA became the ISS' first female commander, the first ISS Science Officer, and set and still holds the American record for time spent in space, will return to flight as a private citizen and commander of Ax-2. Alongside her as the planned mission pilot will be John Shoffner – a pilot, champion GT racer, and active supporter of life science research from Knoxville, Tenn.

Whitson and Shoffner will train together in Axiom's standard astronaut program to prepare them to lead the flight. In addition to their flight training, they will learn how to translate terrestrial single-cell genomic methods to an orbital science process in collaboration with Pleasanton, Calif.-based 10x Genomics, a global leader in developing products to master biology for advancing human health whose offerings are used by all of the top 100 global research institutions.

"I'm thrilled to get to fly to space again and lead one of the first of these pioneering missions, marking a new era of human spaceflight," Whitson said. "But even more than that, I'm eager for the chance on Ax-2 to open space up to the first full generation of private astronauts and directly link John to the research opportunities on the ISS. In the time we've already spent together as crewmates, it's clear to me that John will be an excellent pilot and researcher. It's a pleasure to take him under my wing."

The mission will complete an unconventional path to space for Shoffner, a lifelong athlete and health and science enthusiast.

"Growing up, I closely followed every NASA flight of Gemini and Apollo," Shoffner said. "Now to experience astronaut training teamed with Peggy is an honor. I am also excited about our upcoming work with 10x Genomics in this first step towards making their single-cell technologies available to researchers in a microgravity environment. I look forward to the process of testing and validating this technology for future groundbreaking work in low-Earth orbit."

In addition to standard training on ISS systems, Shoffner will receive specialized spacecraft operations training to assist the commander during flight as pilot of the crew capsule and develop with Whitson the protocols necessary to conduct single-cell sequencing experiments in microgravity.

Whitson and Shoffner are also currently training to serve as backup commander and pilot for Axiom's Ax-1, the first-ever fully private mission to the ISS slated for launch on a SpaceX Crew Dragon in early 2022. As with this proposed Ax-2 mission, Axiom will also compete for the opportunity to fly commercial missions to the ISS approximately every six months, subject to NASA approval and as traffic to the ISS allows.

"Humankind's expansion off the planet, and the benefits it can bring back, will only be sustained by building and serving demand for expanded life and work in Low Earth Orbit," Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said. "There is no one better than Peggy – who would be history's second private mission commander to the ISS – to lead the way on a mission so central to that plan, and we are thrilled to have beside her a pilot as driven and committed to this vision as John to cement this new era."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 47547
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-13-2021 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Selects Second Private Astronaut Mission to Space Station

NASA has selected Axiom Space for the second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. NASA will negotiate with Axiom on a mission order agreement for the Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) targeted to launch between fall 2022 and late spring 2023.

Ax-2 will launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a mission of no more than 14 days docked to the space station. NASA and Axiom will negotiate in-orbit activities for the private astronauts to conduct in coordination with space station crew members and flight controllers on the ground. The Ax-2 mission concept includes scientific research and outreach activities.

NASA and its international partners will review private astronauts selections proposed by Axiom for the Ax-2 mission, as is standard for any space station crew. The proposed crew members would undergo NASA medical qualification testing to be approved for flight.

NASA evaluated the mission proposal based on Axiom's ability to execute it successfully, NASA's ability to support it, and its contribution to the agency's mission and goal of low-Earth orbit commercialization. This mission is subject to NASA's updated pricing policy for private astronaut missions, which reflects the full value of costs to the agency that are above space station baseline capabilities.

Progress continues toward NASA and Axiom's first private astronaut mission to the space station, Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), which is scheduled to launch no earlier than Feb. 21, 2022. Axiom's proposed crew members still are completing final evaluations by NASA and its international partners.

The agency did not make a selection for a third private astronaut mission from its June 2021 research announcement. NASA will gather lessons learned from the first private astronaut flight as well as other applicable station activities and announce a new flight opportunity in the future.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 47547
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-13-2021 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Axiom Space release
NASA selects Axiom for second private astronaut mission to ISS

NASA on Wednesday announced its selection of Axiom to conduct the second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Ax-2 will be targeted for launch between Fall 2022 and Spring 2023, following on the Feb. 2022 launch of Axiom's Ax-1 – the first-ever private ISS mission.

In May, Axiom revealed legendary former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner, a pilot, champion GT racer, and active supporter of life science research from Knoxville, Tenn., as the Ax-2 commander and pilot, respectively. The Ax-2 mission concept focuses on scientific research and outreach activities.

The award, as we near the launch of Ax-1 and build the ISS' commercial successor, further demonstrates Axiom's role as a key partner in the commercialization of low-Earth orbit. Axiom's broad human spaceflight expertise and the training, professionalism, and productivity of its historic first two crews will set a standard for all future private astronaut missions to follow. We look forward to further expanding the market for private spaceflight to LEO destinations, which Axiom Station is built to serve.

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