Axiom taps Epsilon3 software platform for space station development

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TAMPA, Fla. — Californian startup Epsilon3 said Aug. 23 it is building a software platform to help Axiom Space manage plans to deploy commercial modules on the International Space Station in 2024.

The software startup is developing a set of operations and procedure management workflow tools as part of a multi-year deal with Axiom, which has a long-term ambition to establish the first private space station.

The platform will help coordinate Axiom’s ground and on-orbit operations to support early prototyping, Epsilon3 chief operating officer Max Mednik said.

“They’ve been testing out Epsilon3 for a few months and are now reaching the point of using it more significantly across their company for upcoming launches, work towards their station, engineering, testing, and flight ops,” Mednik said in an email.

Epsilon3 says its platform is better suited for coordinating space development workflows than word processing software, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and other applications that are not tailored for the industry.

Founded in 2021, the software startup recently raised $15 million to expand its project management suite.

Axiom is “now reaching a stage in their development where they are building out their procedures for testing and operating their hardware systems and flights,” Mednik said, “so a tool like Epsilon3 is particularly useful to help them accelerate development, stay on schedule (reduce risk), and properly document everything.”

Axiom has an agreement with NASA to attach commercial modules to the ISS. These modules will be designed to eventually detach from the ISS to form a standalone commercial space station.

NASA is also funding three other groups of companies under the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Destinations program, which aims to advance the development of commercial space station alternatives to the ISS.

The U.S. space agency plans to transition to commercial stations by the end of the decade, although watchdogs have raised concerns that these stations might not be ready by the time the ISS retires.

Axiom raised $130 million from investors last year for its plans. 

In April, the company signaled a key milestone for its private space station goals when it sent four commercial astronauts to the ISS onboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. 

Axiom has signed a contract for three additional Crew Dragon missions and expects its second private astronaut mission to the ISS to occur in spring.