NASA, Axiom to Discuss First Private Astronaut Space Station Mission

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NASA experts will join a virtual news conference hosted by Axiom Space to preview the launch of Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. The briefing will take place at 11 a.m. EST Monday, February 28.

The virtual press conference will be available on Axiom Space’s YouTube channel.

The Ax-1 launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 2:46 p.m. EDT Wednesday, March 30, at from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

During the 10-day mission, which includes eight days aboard the space station, the four-person multi-national crew will complete more than 25 research experiments developed for microgravity in collaboration with health and science organizations across the globe.

Briefing participants are: 

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations, NASA
  • Robyn Gatens, director, International Space Station, NASA
  • Phil McAllister, director, Commercial Spaceflight, NASA
  • Michael Suffredini, president and chief executive officer, Axiom
  • Michael López-Alegría, Ax-1 crew commander, Axiom
  • Christian Maender, director, In-Space Research and Manufacturing, Axiom
  • Benjamin Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX

To participate, media must contact: by 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, to receive call-in details.

Axiom Space astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe, are prime crew members of the Ax-1 mission. López-Alegría, who was born in Spain, raised in California, and is a former NASA astronaut, will serve as the mission commander. Connor, of Dayton, Ohio, will serve as pilot. Pathy, from Canada, and Stibbe, from Israel, will serve as mission specialists.

NASA continues to make rapid progress in its efforts to build a robust low-Earth orbit economy. The agency recently announced its selection of Axiom Space to begin negotiations for the second private astronaut mission. NASA also recently announced its selection of companies to develop designs of space stations and other commercial destinations in low-Earth orbit.

Prior to these new awards, NASA selected Axiom Space in January 2020 to design and develop commercial modules to attach to the station. Axiom recently completed the preliminary design review of two modules as well as the critical design review of the modules’ primary structure with NASA participation. Flight hardware for the first Axiom module is currently undergoing fabrication.


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