Guestroom in the ISS
NASA decided to add a habitable commercial module to the international space station (ISS) for use in private research. According to NASA’s report at the end of last month, Houston-based Axiom Space was chosen to build this module, which will be connected to the orbital lab.
NASA hopes that the Axiom module will help grow an extra-terrestrial economy, which will presumably start at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and extend beyond the ISS. Axiom’s efforts to develop a commercial spot in space are also considered critical in terms of satisfying NASA’s long-term needs for astronaut education, scientific research, and technology demonstrations in low Earth orbit.
The Axiom module is planned for launch in the second half of 2024. The module will provide living space for eight crew members, with each private berth designed as a nest-like cabin with an excellent Earth view, and the means of a high-bandwidth communication.
The commercial module of Axiom is just the beginning. In fact, the company plans to build another space station that can take over for the ISS. It is called the Axiom Station, and this module is just the first part of it. Eventually, other modules will be attached to this first one, and the entire structure will finally separate from the ISS when the good old space station retires. Currently, the station is funded only until 2024, and rumour has it that some other eager companies (besides Axiom) are also in line to set up their own space stations in the following years.
NASA has been receiving demands for space access from countries that cannot afford to build their own infrastructure, and more than a dozen countries are waiting to send their astronauts to space. These requests are backed up by both scientific and commercial reasons, but the demand exists, and according to NASA, it will grow and expand over time.
- 1. https://spacenews.com/nasa-selects-axiom-space-to-build-commercial-space-station-module/
- 2. https://www.universetoday.com/144791/nasa-is-going-to-add-a-commercial-module-to-the-space-station/