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SpaceX to Fly 3 More Private-Crew Missions to the International Space Station

By Rich Smith - Jun 2, 2021 at 2:49PM

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Axiom Space reserves more taxi missions for its private astronauts.

Three months after Axiom Space, a would-be space station builder, announced it will conduct the first fully private human-spaceflight mission to the International Space Station (ISS), it announced this morning that it will fly three more such private crew missions to the ISS.  

And just as with the original flight (set for next year), SpaceX will provide the spacecraft to get them there.

International Space Station over Earth

The International Space Station. Image source: Getty Images.

In its announcement today, Axiom said it has signed an agreement for three additional Dragon flights to carry private astronauts to the ISS. In each case, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry a Crew Dragon capsule to ISS.

These three missions, designated Ax-2, Ax-3, and Ax-4, will follow the planned Ax-1 mission scheduled for as early as January 2022. In Ax-1, four entrepreneurs have booked passage with Axiom aboard a SpaceX flight to the ISS, where NASA will put them up for eight days at a cost of $55 million a head.

No prices have been stated for these next three missions. Only two members have been named so far for the Ax-2 mission: the commander, former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson; and mission pilot John Shoffner. No members of the subsequent missions have been named.  

No dates have been set for the post-Ax-1 missions, either, although Axiom says it plans to "compete for the opportunity to fly commercial missions to the ISS approximately every six months, subject to NASA approval."

Axiom considers these missions as preparation for the launch and integration of the Axiom Station modules to the ISS beginning in 2024. The company then plans to detach its modules in 2028 and use them to form a new space station owned and operated exclusively by Axiom.

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