Axiom Space chose the composition of its third mission to the ISS

Axiom Space and NASA have determined the crew of the Ax-3 commercial mission. In addition to the company’s representative, astronauts from Sweden, Italy and Turkey will fly to the International Space Station.

The crew of the Ax-3 mission. Source: SpaceX

Crew of the Ax-3 mission

NASA and Axiom Space announced on September 12 that they had completed the formation of the Ax-3 mission crew. Like the previous two, it will be completely commercial. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will send one employee of the company and three of its customers into orbit. They will spend 14 days on board the International Space Station, after which they will return to Earth.

Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut working at Axiom Space, was elected as the crew commander. He already headed the private mission Ax-1, which visited the ISS in April 2022.

The co-pilot will be Colonel Walter Villadei of the Italian Air Force. He already trained as a stand-in for the Ax-2 mission, and in the spring of this year he made a suborbital flight as part of Virgin Galactic’s first personal mission.

The third member of the crew, as previously expected, will be Marcus Wandt. He is a former pilot of the Swedish Air Force, and since last year he has also been a reserve astronaut in the detachment of the European Space Agency. The fourth will be the Turkish military pilot Alper Gezeravcı. A little earlier, this country had identified him as the best candidate to become the first astronaut.

Future plans of Axiom Space

“This crew is shifting the paradigm of how governments and space agencies access and reap the benefits of microgravity,” López-Alegría commented on the composition of the crew in a company statement. “The Ax-3 mission will be transformational as it fosters partnerships outside the construct of the ISS and positions European nations as pioneers of the emerging commercial space industry.”

The Ax-3 mission is scheduled to launch to the ISS in early 2024. It became possible thanks to NASA’s commercialization policy in low Earth orbit. The program permits up to two private astronaut missions to the ISS per year.

These flights should form the basis for commercial modules that Axiom plans to add to the station, and for the development of commercial space stations that will eventually become the successor to the ISS. Later in 2024, Axiom Space plans to launch a fourth mission.

According to

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