Axiom Space has received a significant contract from NASA as the company will build three large pressurized modules and a dedicated Earth observation window for the International Space Station.
The new partnership is a crucial component of the new Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships 2, which involves a series of public-private partnerships that aim to boost the development of new technology that could favor the exploration of deep space.
NASA released the Appendix I of the NextSTEP-2 initiative in June 2019, inviting companies to bid for the development of habitable commercial modules that could be launched towards the ISS and attached to the forward end in an attempt to enhance the commercial aspect of the ISS in the long run.
Axiom will work on three large modules and the Earth observation windows, which will form the Axiom Segment.
NASA Contracted Axiom Space Private Company To Build A New ISS Segment
According to a press release offered by the company, the first module should be ready for launch after Q2 2024. The segment will be divided into a crew, a node, and a research and manufacturing module.
The company is relatively young since it was founded in 2016. Still, several space industry veterans have been employed, including a former NASA astronaut and one of the former ISS project managers. Axiom is joined by companies that have contributed to the ISS in the past, among which we can count Boeing, Thales Alenia Space, and Maxar Technologies.
NASA has stated that some details have to be discussed as the contract is not final at this point. The price and the terms of the agreement have to be addressed with Axiom, and the agency is aiming for a fixed-price deal.
Specific details related to the modules remain elusive at this point, as no information was offered beyond the general designation. The commercial segment will allow Axiom to train and bring paying customers into space.