NASA is requesting proposals for two private astronaut missions to the International Space Station in 2023 and 2024, enforcing a requirement such missions be commanded by former NASA astronauts.
NASA awarded a $228.5 million task order to Axiom Space to develop a spacesuit to be used on the first Artemis landing mission, although the design of the suit remains under wraps.
NASA has completed an agreement for a second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station with Axiom Space, the only company that bid on the opportunity.
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.
NASA is changing rules for future private astronaut missions to the International Space Station, including requiring such missions to be led by a former NASA astronaut.
Both NASA and the companies selected by the agency to begin development of commercial space stations say they don’t share concerns raised by watchdogs that such stations may not be ready by the time the International Space Station is retired.
The two companies NASA selected earlier this month to develop spacesuits for the International Space Station and Artemis lunar missions were the only companies to bid on the project, according to agency procurement documents.
NASA awarded contracts to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to provide spacesuits for International Space Station spacewalks and Artemis moonwalks, although neither the agency nor the winning companies offered many technical or financial details.
The private astronauts who spent two weeks on the International Space Station in April said they tried to pack too much into their schedules while on the station, putting a strain on both themselves and the professional astronauts there.
The United Arab Emirates will fly an astronaut on a long-duration mission to the International Space Station through an agreement with Axiom Space.
A Crew Dragon spacecraft returned to Earth April 25, ending a 17-day mission that ferried four private astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
A Crew Dragon undocked from the International Space Station April 24 carrying four private astronauts who spent nearly twice as long on the station as originally planned.