|Type||Private incorporated company|
|Founder||Michael T. Suffredini|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
Axiom Space, Inc., also known as Axiom, is an American privately funded space infrastructure developer headquartered in Houston, Texas. Founded in 2016 by Michael T. Suffredini and Kam Ghaffarian, the company is sending commercially crewed missions since 2022, with the first commercially crewed commercial space flight, into orbit and the International Space Station (ISS) and aims to own and operate the world's first commercial space station in 2024. The company's leadership team is largely composed of former NASA employees, including former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Other key people at the company include astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria and Brent W. Jett Jr.
The company sent its first commercial astronauts into orbit in 2022. It also plans human spaceflight for government-funded and commercial astronauts engaging in in-space research, in-space manufacturing, and space exploration.
Axiom Space CEO Michael T. Suffredini was previously the program manager for the International Space Station from 2005 to 2015. After retiring from NASA, Suffredini and Kam Ghaffarian started Axiom to target the emerging commercial spaceflight market. Ghaffarian is an engineer and entrepreneur who sold his company, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc., a large NASA contractor, to KBR in 2018.
The company was selected by NASA to provide the first commercial destination module on the International Space Station. Axiom also announced in March 2020 a contract with SpaceX to fly commercial astronauts to the International Space Station via Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon scheduled for March 2022; launch took place 8 April 2022 and crew returned on 25 April.
The company had 110 employees as of February 2021, with offices located in Houston and Los Angeles.
In 2020, as part of the broader Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) cislunar initiative, NASA awarded Axiom a US$140 million contract to provide at least one habitable spacecraft to attach to the International Space Station. Axiom was the only selected proposal from the solicitation process due in 2019. Bigelow Aerospace did not submit a proposal and has subsequently ceased operations.
The modules constructed by Axiom are designed to attach to the Harmony forward port with the intent to demonstrate an ability to commercially provide services and products in the low Earth orbit economy. The "Axiom Segment" of the station was planned, as of January 2020[update], to include a node module to act as a connector, a research and manufacturing facility, a crew habitat, and a "large-windowed" module for viewing the Earth.
See also: Axiom Orbital Segment
Axiom Station intends to have its spacecraft modules individually launched and assembled in-orbit, first attaching to the International Space Station. Before ISS retirement (and atmospheric reentry), the company plans to detach its modules and commence orbit on its own as Axiom Station. Axiom renderings from 2020 illustrate how modules might be berthed and relocated on the ISS by the Mobile Servicing System, specifically the Canadarm2. Canadarm2 might also continue its operations on the Axiom Space Station after the retirement of ISS in late 2020s. The company targets 2024 for its first module to attach to the ISS and the late-2020s for station completion.
Axiom plans to conduct astronaut training for commercial astronauts, to host governments and commercial partners. Up to three Axiom modules could attach to the International Space Station. The first module could be launched in 2024, potentially docking to the forward port of Harmony, which would require relocation of the PMA-2. Axiom Space plans to attach up to two additional modules to its initial core module, and send private astronauts to visit the modules.
The interior for Axiom Station was designed in 2018 by French architect 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. Axiom has publicly stated an intent to maintain at least one astronaut in the station continuously,[when?] who will be assigned to take care of research projects and station repairs. This includes amenities like high-speed Wi-Fi, video screens, picture windows, and a glass-walled cupola.
Axiom plans to provide human spaceflight services to individuals, corporations, and space agencies. Missions to the International Space Station are offered by Axiom, with a 10-day mission including 15 weeks of training. In addition to training, Axiom states that the package will include mission planning, hardware development, life support, medical support, crew provisions, hardware and safety certifications, on-orbit operations, and mission management. Missions could extend for longer periods of time depending on the focus of the spaceflight.
In June 2020, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine mentioned on a podcast that Axiom was involved with the filming of a Tom Cruise movie to the ISS  with SpaceX expected to be the transportation partner for the flights.
Axiom intends to commercialize microgravity research and development, using the ISS National Lab until its own modules are operational.
In early June 2021, Axiom announced a deal with SpaceX which added three additional manned flights to the ISS, for a total of four.
Main article: Axiom Mission 2
Ax-2 is a planned private crew mission to the ISS. The flight is slated to launch between fall 2022 and late spring 2023 and send four people to the ISS. One crew member is to be chosen through the Discovery Channel reality television series Who Wants to Be an Astronaut?. On 25 May 2021, Axiom announced that former NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson would be the mission commander and John Shoffner would be the mission pilot.
Ax-3 is a planned private crew mission to the ISS. The flight will launch no earlier than 2023 and carry four people to the ISS. The crew is expected to include Walter Villadei.
Ax-4 is a planned private crew mission to the ISS. The flight will launch no earlier than 2023 and carry four people to the ISS, including the winner of the Space Hero reality television show. The crew is expected to include a Hungarian astronaut.
In January 2022, the Axiom Space Mission Control Center (or MCC-A) completed its first on-orbit operation on the ISS. The MCC-A, located at Axiom's HQ in Houston, TX, is registered as a payload operations site.
|Mission||Patch||Launch date (UTC)||Landing date (UTC)||Crew||Duration||Vehicle||Remarks||Outcome|
|Axiom Mission 1||Axiom-1 Patch||8 April 2022||25 April 2022||17 days||Crew Dragon Endeavour||First Crew Dragon flight contracted by Axiom Space. First fully private flight to the ISS, carrying Michael López-Alegría as Axiom professional astronaut, Eytan Stibbe to conduct educational experiments for a 17-day trip, Larry Connor and Mark Pathy, both heading investment companies.||Success|
|Axiom Mission 2||Q1 2023||Q1 2023||10 days||Crew Dragon||Second Crew Dragon flight contracted by Axiom Space. Second fully private flight to the ISS, carrying Peggy Whitson as Axiom professional astronaut.||Planned|
|Axiom Mission 3||2023||Planned|
|Axiom Mission 4||2023||Planned|
On June 1st, 2022, NASA announced it had selected Axiom Space along with competing Collins Aerospace to develop and provide astronauts with next generation spacesuit and spacewalk systems to first test and later use outside the International Space Station, as well as on the lunar surface for the crewed Artemis missions, and prepare for human missions to Mars.