back to article Axiom signs up with SpaceX to fly private astronauts to the International Space Station

Axiom Space has signed a contract with SpaceX to fly three private astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) "as soon as the second half of 2021". The mission is set to use SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, which has yet to fly a human crew let alone a tourist, to transport a commander, trained by Axiom, and three …

  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    What happened to Bigelows inflatable space hotels?

    1. Alister

      They were a bit of a let down, really...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        AIU the problem is finding enough trained EVA staff to go out and apply the patches. You really don't want guests worrying about signs of patching on the inside.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Jokes aside, given that you have pressure on the inside, and vacuum on the outside, wouldn't it make more sense to patch on the inside? That way the patch would be held in place by the air pressure.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, an interesting concept, but the commercial opportunities fell flat.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      I think the advertising was overblown.

    4. IT Poser

      Bigelow is still around. They merely didn't win access to the ISS port. My guess is Bigelow will be launching the B330 that was being reserved for ISS to a more useful inclination, hopefully before the year is out. Robert Bigelow has said he was launching with or without NASA for over a decade now. I'll take him at his word since I know Bigelow dropped the cash the reserve a 2020 Atlas V launch to take the first B330 to orbit.

      FYI the reason the ISS port was so important to Bigelow is ISS already has regular supply missions and already supports crew. If the first B330 is flight tested attached to ISS ISS crew can open the hatch, run tests, and escape to ISS should something go wrong. If the solution is a simple component swap the component can come up on the next scheduled delivery. Not having access to this logistics means Bigelow has to spring for a launch every time they run into a minor unexpected problem. If crew needs to evacuate the only option is escape to Earth. Time wise this means we're looking at ~1 year to certification berthed to ISS versus ~3 yrs without the logistics support. Those extra launches are going to cost Bigelow some hundreds of million too,

      Disclaimer: My personal preference is Axiom over Bigelow. I tried to set my personal bias aside but I'm only human. Sorry if I still came off as an Axiom fanboi gloating.

  2. tony72

    What will they do?

    I can't imagine you'd want to pay millions to spend a few days on the ISS just to twiddle your thumbs, and as far as I understand it the leisure facilities up there are somewhat limited thus far. Are these private astronauts going to be given tasks to perform, or take part in experiments while they are up there? I mean, taking that killer space selfie with the Earth behind you is great and all, but...

    1. stuartnz

      Re: What will they do?

      "I can't imagine you'd want to pay millions" <insert> obligatory Douglas Adams reference

      " ‘Not only am I rich enough to afford this..., I am also rich enough not to take it seriously.’ It was wonderfully hideous."


  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the primary issues detected during the company's uncrewed Orbital Flight Test"

    Primary issues, such as "insufficient testing" ?

    I do hope they're going to talk about that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the primary issues detected during the company's uncrewed Orbital Flight Test"

      Well, issues such as the front isn't supposed to fall off...

      1. fishman

        Re: "the primary issues detected during the company's uncrewed Orbital Flight Test"

        It was more like what might of happened when the back fell off.

    2. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: "the primary issues detected during the company's uncrewed Orbital Flight Test"

      NASA declared the Starliner mission "a high visibility close call." Which is rare and one step down from "loss of mission." That will cause Boeing's processes and company culture to be investigated in the same way as SpaceX were after Elon smoked a spliff publicly. They still won't say if they will make Boeing repeat the uncrewed mission but that is just politics, they will.

      If I were involved with the ISS from ESA, Roscosmos, JAXA or another stakeholder I'd refuse to let Starliner near the ISS until it completes a demo flight that demonstrates its software can perform manoevers correctly and at the right time.

  4. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    I hope

    that Axiom's CEO doesn't turn out to be Hugo Drax.

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