NASA and Axiom Space - Ax-1 Mission

NASA and Texas-based company Axiom Space have agreed on terms for the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, which will launch around January 2022. 

The mission was announced on May 10, 2021, through a teleconference and the spaceflight, designated as Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) is expected to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and travel to the International Space Station. 

For the detailed List of Space Centres & Indian Space Agencies, UPSC aspirants can visit the linked article. 

In this article, we shall discuss the NASA-Axiom Space mission, its objectives and important facts about the Ax-1 Mission. It is an important topic from the IAS Exam perspective and questions based on the same may be asked under Space and Technology for prelims and mains. 

NASA and Axiom Space – Ax-1 Mission [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

About Ax-1 Mission

NASA has opened up the space station for commercial activities, including private astronaut missions, as part of its plan to develop a robust and competitive economy in low-Earth orbit.

  • The spaceflight, named Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), is scheduled to launch no earlier than January 2022 for an eight-day mission aboard the orbiting complex
  • The Axiom Space crew will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • NASA and Axiom mission planners will coordinate in-orbit activities for the private astronauts to conduct in coordination with space station crew members and flight controllers on the ground
  • Axiom will purchase services for the mission from NASA, such as crew supplies, cargo delivery to space, storage, and other in-orbit resources for daily use. NASA will purchase from Axiom the capability to return scientific samples that must be kept cold in transit back to Earth
  • For the Ax-1 mission, Axiom has proposed Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe as prime crew members.

Also, read about the NISAR Mission (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) for the upcoming administrative exams at the linked article. 

Significance of NASA-Axiom Mission

  • The mission, dubbed Ax-1, marks a new milestone in NASA’s continuing push to transition low Earth orbital activities to commercial entities
  • Enabling Ax-1 is an important step to stimulate demand for commercial human spaceflight services so NASA can be one of many customers in low-Earth orbit

Also, read about Space Debris: RSTV – In Depth

UPSC 2021

About Axiom Space

  • Axiom Space, Inc., also known as Axiom, is an American privately funded space infrastructure developer headquartered in Houston, Texas
  • It was founded in 2016 by Michael T. Suffredini and Kam Ghaffarian
  • The company aims to own and operate the world’s first commercial space station and is planning commercial missions in 2022 to the International Space Station (ISS) 
  • Axiom is building and operating the world’s first private space station, the pillar of a thriving commercial network in Earth’s orbit. Axiom private astronaut missions are the first step on the road to this near future

Also, UPSC aspirants can learn about Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), at the linked article. It is an autonomous nodal agency, wherein, the private parties will be allowed to perform space activities and use the equipment and facilities of the Department of Space (DoS) for launch manifest. 

Aspirants can get the updated prelims and mains UPSC Syllabus for the upcoming Civil Services Exam at the linked article.

Frequently Asked Questions about Axiom Mission – 1

What is the significance of Axiom Mission 1?

The Axiom Mission – 1 will be the first wholly commercially-operated crewed mission to the ISS, and one of the first dedicated orbital space tourism missions,

When will the Axiom Mission – 1 be launched?

The mission is expected to launch in January 2022, atop a Falcon 9 Block 5 launch vehicle from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A), a NASA-owned launch pad leased to SpaceX for Falcon 9 launches.

NASA and Axiom Space – Ax-1 Mission [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

For the latest exam updates, study material and preparation tips, visit BYJU’S. 

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