Axiom Station
Axiom modules connected to ISS.jpg
Artist's rendering of concept design for Axiom Station berthed at the forward port of Harmony
Station statistics
Launchplanned 2024
Carrier rocketUndecided
Launch padUndecided
Mission statusUnder Construction[1]

Axiom Orbital Segment or Axiom Segment (or AxS) are the planned modular components of the International Space Station (ISS) designed by Axiom Space for commercial space activities. Axiom Space gained initial NASA approval for the venture in January 2020. Axiom Space was later awarded the contract by NASA on February 28, 2020.[2] This orbital station will be separated from the ISS to become its own modular space station, Axiom Station, after the ISS is decommissioned.

External image
image icon Axiom Station modules infographic

Axiom Segment

At least four Axiom modules will attach to the International Space Station. The first module is planned to be launched in 2024 and would dock to the forward port of Harmony, requiring relocation of Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA-2) to any other ports on ISS like Harmony nadir. Axiom Space plans to attach at least three additional modules to its first core module, and send private astronauts to inhabit the modules.[3]

Axiom renderings illustrate how the four modules might attach to the ISS as they are berthed and relocated by the Mobile Servicing System using Canadarm2. Canadarm2 might also continue its operations on the Axiom Space Station after the retirement of ISS in late 2020s.[4][5]

Axiom Station

The company released preliminary plans in February 2020 for how the Axiom Orbital Segment could form the basis for the Axiom Station, a potential future space station, constructed out of the Axiom Segment and additional elements upon ISS retirement and separation, including a power and thermal module with an airlock.[6][non-primary source needed] The company plans to launch its first module to the ISS in 2024, with the second, third and fourth launching in 2025, 2026 and 2027 respectively[7][8]

The interior concept of the crew quarters of Axiom Orbital Segment was designed by French architect and designer Philippe Starck. Renderings of the habitat show a chamber with walls that are covered with tufted padding and studded with hundreds of color-changing LEDs.[9] The Axiom Orbital Segment will have amenities including high-speed Wi-Fi, video screens, picture windows and a glass-walled cupola — which Axiom calls "the largest window observatory ever constructed for the space environment".[10]

Planned modules

AxH1

Axiom Station's first planned module, Hab 1, is expected to launch in 2024. It will provide quarters for four crew members.[11][12]

AxSEE-1

Axiom Space is planned to manufacture the SEE-1 module for the British company Space Entertainment Enterprise (or S.E.E.)[13][14]. It is planned to be a six meter spherical inflatable module[15] and to fulfill the purpose of a first entertainment studio in space. It is currently planned to launch in late 2024 after AxH1 has connected to the ISS.[16]

The directors of SEE, Dmitry Lesnevsky and Elena Lesnevsky, have additionally been pursuing film shootings for a future movie with Tom Cruise at the station.[15]

AxH2

Axiom Station's Hab 2 module is expected to launch in 2025. It will provide quarters for an additional four crew members allowing the station to support up to eight crew.[11][12]

AxRMF

Axiom Station's research and manufacturing lab is planned to launch in 2026.[11][12]

AxEO

Axiom Station's Earth Observatory will be a glass-walled cupola planned to launch in 2026.[12][11]

AxPT

Axiom Station's Power Tower will provide power via solar array to support the station so that Axiom Station will be able to support itself once it disconnects from the ISS. It is expected to launch in 2027.[12][11] Until AxPT is launched, Axiom Station will be relying on the ISS to help provide power.

Construction

Manufacturing

Axiom Space signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space for Thales Alenia to manufacture and test the primary structure and the Micrometeoroid & Debris Protection System (or MDPS) for both AxH1 and AxH2.[17] Thales Alenia Space is already in the process of machining the primary structure of AxH1. With the completion of the Manufacturing Readiness Review on September 21, 2021, Thales Alenia was able to begin welding the cone panels of AxH1. The primary structure for AxH1 is expected to be delivered from Italy to Houston, TX in early 2023 where Axiom Space will complete assembly and integration of all systems before launch.[8]

Assembly

There have been no announcements as to which rocket will carry the AxS modules into Low Earth orbit. The first module, AxH1, is planned to attach onto the forward port of Harmony (ISS module).[2] The SEE-1 module is planned to berth on one of the radial ports of AxH1. AxH2 will then berth on the forward port of AxH1. AxPT is planned to berth on the Zenith port of either AxH1 or AxH2.[4] As Axiom Station is a Modular space station the modules may be moved to different ports as needed.

Purpose

Scientific research

Axiom Station is planned to have a lab module, AxRMF, to provide opportunities for Low Earth orbit research and manufacturing.

Commercial station

Axiom Station is also planned to have space for general commercial use, such as the SEE-1 entertainment module.

See also

References

  1. ^ "A step closer to the Axiom Commercial Space Station". Thales Group. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b Northon, Karen (27 January 2020). "NASA Selects First Commercial Destination Module for Space Station". NASA. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  3. ^ "NASA selects Axiom Space to build commercial space station module". SpaceNews. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Assembly Sequence: Watch the Axiom Segment of the ISS constructed module-by-module". Axiom Space. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  5. ^ "A Private Space Station Might Be Born From the ISS". seeker.com. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Axiom Space - Axiom Commercial Space Station". Axiom Space. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  7. ^ Corbett, Tobias (28 January 2020). "NASA selects Axiom Space to build commercial space station segment". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  8. ^ a b "A step closer to the Axiom Commercial Space Station". Thales Group. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  9. ^ "French designer creates womblike habitat for space tourists". NBC News. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  10. ^ Corbett, Tobias (27 January 2020). "NASA selects Axiom Space to build commercial space station segment". NASASpaceFlight.com.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Axiom Commercial Space Station". Axiom Space. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d e "News & Media". Axiom Space. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  13. ^ "Press - Space Entertainment Enterprise". www.seespacearena.com. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  14. ^ "SEE - Space Entertainment Enterprise". www.seespacearena.com. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  15. ^ a b "Bigelow Aerospace transfers BEAM space station module to NASA". SpaceNews. 21 January 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  16. ^ "RELEASE - Axiom selected to build inflatable microgravity media venue". Axiom Space. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  17. ^ "Thales Alenia Space to provide the first two pressurized modules for Axiom Space Station". Thales Group. Retrieved 6 April 2022.