KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., April 11, 2022 (CASIS PR) – On Friday, April 8, the launch of the first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), marked the beginning of a new era of privatized utilization of the orbiting laboratory. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lifted off from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying four Axiom Space astronauts: Commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Larry Connor, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft docked with the ISS on Saturday, and the four Axiom crew members were welcomed onboard. Over the span of eight days on the space station, the Ax-1 crew members will conduct dozens of research experiments, many of which are sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory. In total, the ISS National Lab is sponsoring more than 25 experiments associated with the Ax-1 mission.
With the emergence of private astronaut missions, additional crew members will be available to conduct valuable research and technology development (R&D) onboard the ISS. Through space-based R&D, the ISS National Lab seeks to enable discoveries that can bring value to humanity and further sustained business models in low Earth orbit. Axiom is an ISS National Lab Commercial Service Provider, and through this partnership, the company will continue to launch and support future investigations onboard the orbiting platform.
Several Axiom-supported investigations sponsored by the ISS National Lab are associated with the Ax-1 mission. One of these projects aims to test a device that could provide autonomous health monitoring of astronauts on future long-duration spaceflight missions. Another is a technology demonstration testing a portable electroencephalography (EEG) headset to measure differences in brain activity during spaceflight. And another is an investigation testing autonomous and self-assembling robotic swarms of tiles to help assess the feasibility of in-orbit construction of satellites and future space habitats.
“Congratulations to Axiom Space and SpaceX on this historic first for human spaceflight in low Earth orbit,” said Ray Lugo, chief executive officer for the ISS National Laboratory. “This mission demonstrates that access to space is growing, and we look forward to the results derived from this initial private astronaut mission. We hope that this mission strengthens future conversations with researchers, companies, and other organizations on the potential of not only launching research to the orbiting laboratory but actually become a participant in space-based inquiries themselves.”
To learn more about this mission, including research associated with Ax-1, please visit Axiom’s official media kit.
About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory: The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.