Axiom Space looks to the moon as it continues to dream big in orbit

“What do you hope to achieve in the next ten years?” is a well-known question, often asked during job interviews or when starting a new business.

Axiom space was founded in 2016, so it’s approaching the ten-year milestone — and the Houston-based company has already checked off a lot of the boxes that were probably on the milestone list.

Axiom, for example, has organized three completely private manned missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and was awarded a NASA contract to develop the first commercial module to the ISS. The company too building the spacesuits that NASA’s Artemis astronauts will use during their exploration of the lunar surface.

Related: NASA’s Artemis Program: Everything You Need to Know

“The biggest excitement for me is the missions, the spacesuit and the station,” Tejpaul Bhatia, Chief Revenue Officer at Axiom Space, told at the 39th Space Symposium, held last month in Colorado Springs.

“With the missions we have done – three in the last three years – we have sent eight countries into space,” Bhatia added. “We have worked with more than fifty research and commercial partners collaborating on these missions, and we will do more. The next mission [to the ISS] will happen soon, and more countries and more companies will be part of these missions. The excitement and reach of introducing everyone to space travel: it’s a new era for space travel.”

At the beginning of this year the company private Ax-3 mission made history as “the first all-European commercial astronaut mission” to the ISS. The 22-day Ax-3, Axiom’s longest mission to date, sent a citizen of Türkiye to room for the first time and allowed Italy to join a new role in commercial space travel.

While in orbit, a new conjunction warning system developed by the Italian Air Force (ItAF) was used to monitor for possible collision threats. The Italian Space Operations Center demonstration provided researchers with information that allowed crews to obtain near-real information time collision warnings independently, without relying heavily on the support of Soil. The team was also able to test other tools that monitor solar activity space again.

“The most exciting part is to use all the heritage that Italy has collected over the last sixty years to build new bridges together with our national industries and try to create a connection between that Italian industrial ecosystem or that of the US” , he said. Ax-3 pilot Walter Villadei, a colonel in the ITAF. “There’s the Air Force; space for us is kind of an extension of our natural environment, so we want to be there, we want to understand how to behave or operate in space. It’s a unique moment in time.”

Axiom’s fourth mission, Ax-4, will launch no earlier than October and will send a new crew to the ISS for up to two weeks. Such missions will continue to build knowledge and skills that contribute to the company’s goal of building and operating the world’s first commercial space station, according to Axiom.

Axiom also builds and tests the spacesuit that astronauts will wear during NASA’s missions to the moon’s surface Artemis 3 mission, expected to launch in September 2026. A prototype of this suit, known as the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU), was created unveiled in March. Like any other space technology, the prototype must be evaluated and continuously adjusted before the critical evaluation phase begins in June.

“The suit needs to have multiple layers of safety, so if something happens you need to be able to react quickly and keep your action to a minimum to get back safely into whatever your environment will be,” Villadei said. “It’s a combination of many factors.”

For example, the suit must be able to withstand the harsh and variable environments of the lunar surface, in addition to providing mobility and comfort. In addition, it must be able to withstand a wide range of temperatures for at least two hours.

Since unveiling the AxEMU prototype in March 2023, Axiom Space has made significant progress in suit design and testing. The suit design is past the preliminary design review point with NASA and will enter the critical design review phase in June 2024.

a person in a large white space suit with a large glass dome viso

a person in a large white space suit with a large glass dome viso


– SpaceX Dragon carrying Ax-3 astronauts crashes into Atlantic Ocean to end longest private spaceflight for Axiom Space

– Private Space Station: How Axiom Space plans to build its orbital outpost

– NASA chooses 3 companies to design a lunar rover that could allow Artemis astronauts to ride on the moon

“Within that suit are several other systems and subsystems, so we’re bringing in a lot of commercial partners, many who worked on the original space suits, but many who are bringing new design elements,” Bhatia said.

“Commercial elements of brands that you and I know you may not think of in terms of space, but it will make perfect sense when you hear that they are part of it,” he added. “I think it will start out looking like a private company working with government agencies, and soon it will turn around and you will see a whole economy in the space with brands that we know, love and use every day.” . It won’t be that this is another border, but it is actually part of our lives.”

Axiom Space could also contribute to Artemis missions in other ways; the company is working with Astrolab and Odyssey Space Research on the FLEX lunar rover project, one of three private efforts just received NASA financing development work. One of these three private designs is expected to be the Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV), which Artemis astronauts will drive around the moon.

“Use our expertise in the field of EVA [extravehicular activity]Axiom Space is leading the way in designing EVA-focused components of the rover, such as vehicle interfaces for both the crew and spacesuits, and containers/attachments to carry EVA tools,” said Russell Ralston, vice president of Extravehicular Activity for Axiom Space , said in a press release. “This collaboration with Astrolab not only demonstrates our EVA expertise, but also underlines Axiom Space’s commitment to advancing the field of lunar exploration.”

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