The companies SpaceX and Axiom Space have concluded an agreement which should lead to fully private manned flights to the International Space Station (ISS). The first of these flights will take place in 2021 and will embark three space tourists.
New tourists on board!
In June 2019, we were talking about the privatization of the International Space Station for 2024. The aim is to give a second life to this station, which has been operating since 1998. In the meantime, NASA had announced that it had once again authorized tourists to go on board from the ISS next year. However, you should know that no space tourist has been on board the station since 2009! The last to have stayed there – ten days – is the Canadian Guy Laliberté.
In reality, and despite this authorization, the next flights will not take place until 2021. Indeed, we have known for several months that the Russian space agency Roscosmos intends to transport two tourists there. It is a partnership with Space Adventures. However, we have recently known that SpaceX is also in the dance!
According to an article published in the New York Times on March 5, 2020, SpaceX and Axiom Space have entered into a partnership. The objective? Route tourists through SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. These tourists will be three and a place has already been reserved. Also remember the price of a place: around 55 million dollars!
Four passengers to the ISS
SpaceX assures that its Crew Dragon capsule is practically ready for manned flights. However, it should accommodate a total of four people since, in addition to the three tourists, it is essential to have a captain. The latter will pilot the capsule and supervise the three other occupants. He will also stay on board the ISS and ensure that tourists do not disturb the work of the astronauts.
Finally, Axiom Space did not hesitate to recall that this flight – planned for the second quarter of 2021 – will be the first in history entirely operated by companies in the private sector. Indeed, space tourism flights that have already taken place included the collaboration of at least one government space agency.
Recall that a few weeks ago, SpaceX was looking for four customers for a space flight. Also planned for 2021, this trip organized in partnership with Space Adventures does not plan to dock with the ISS. Indeed, there is talk of breaking the world altitude record for private space flights. SpaceX wants to send these tourists to a height two to three times higher than that of the ISS located 400 km from Earth.