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Second Private Astronaut Mission To Space Station In Q2 2023

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NASA and Axiom Space, Inc. have signed a mission order for the second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, targeting second quarter of 2023.

"With each new step forward, we are working together with commercial space companies and growing the economy in low-Earth orbit," said Phil McAlister, director of commercial space at NASA Headquarters. "In addition to expanding access to orbit for more people, we are also hoping these private astronaut missions will help the industry learn and develop the skillset to conduct such missions, and NASA is benefitting from gaining additional capability, particularly with returning additional cargo from the space station," he added.

The spaceflight, designated as Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2), will launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and travel to the space station. Once docked, the Axiom astronauts are scheduled to spend 10 days aboard the orbiting laboratory. NASA and Axiom mission planners will coordinate in-orbit activities for the private astronauts to conduct in coordination with space station crew members and flight controllers on the ground.

"Axiom continues to fund and fly private astronaut missions to the International Space Station to build our expertise and attract new customers in preparation for the launch of our space station, Axiom Station," said Derek Hassmann, Axiom's chief of Mission Integration and Operations.

Axiom Space sent the first commercially crewed private spaceflight - Axiom Mission 1 - to the International Space Station in April. The four-member crew went to the space station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The Houston-based space infrastructure developer company aims to own and operate the world's first commercial space station in 2024.

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