For the intrepid traveller who has “been there, done that” there is a new ticket in town – and it comes direct from Axiom Space, a Houston-based company offering would-be space tourists the chance to board a module that will take them 250 miles above the earth to the International Space Station (ISS). There are just two coveted spots left ($50m per seat) for the maiden seven-to-10-day mission in microgravity, which will take place in 2020. The all-inclusive package includes an intensive 15-week astronaut-led training programme before the voyage and transportation to and from the ISS.
For the lucky pair who get to make this transformative trip, the benefits will be countless. “The experience that Axiom is creating for our private astronauts will exceed their wildest expectations,” says Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space. “Viewing our entire home planet, horizon-to-horizon, is a perspective-altering experience that will change their life in a very positive way.”
Axiom Space has experience of working with Nasa’s International Space Station. The privately owned Axiom Station is the successor to the ISS – a multination construction project that is the largest single structure humans have put into space – and builds on its 17-year legacy of ensuring a continuous human presence in low earth orbit. The mission is an extension of this relationship – and their shared goal of creating a platform that facilitates living in space while improving life on earth. Axiom will be constructing the first commercial space station next year – one that will generate space commerce and develop products for use on earth, such as turbine blades and fibre optics.
French designer and architect Philippe Starck has been enlisted to create the Axiom Station habitation spaces, including the crew quarters and dining facilities. “My vision for the Habitation Module is to create a comfortable ‘egg’ that is inviting, with soft walls and a design perfectly in harmony with the values and movements of the human body in zero gravity,” says Starck.
The pedigree of the flight crew is also first class. “The Axiom team is made up of some of the most experienced engineers and leaders in human space flight,” says Suffredini. “Our team trains America’s astronauts and we’ve been involved in every ISS mission since its inception. By collaborating with a world-renowned designer like Philippe Starck to bring his visionary experiential design to the Axiom Space Station, we are witnessing a new era in space exploration. We look forward to introducing new nations and private citizens to life in space and to expanding the human footprint.”