NASA Clears Second Axiom Private Mission to the ISS, To Be Flown by Nurburgring Veteran

You have to admit, this whole space tourism thing exploded in our faces faster than most of us might have expected. Whereas just a year ago the companies involved were nowhere near capable of performing civilian-crewed flights, now all of them are doing it. Are more are coming.
International Space Station 11 photos
Photo: NASA
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SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin, they’ve all managed over the course of 2021 to send people above the Karman line, some farther and for longer, others less so. To rub Americans’ noses in it, the Russians took things even further and flew a civilian film crew to the ISS to shoot scenes for a movie.

Next year, America will do the same, with NASA using a partnership with a company called Axiom Space to make money off tourists. In February 2022, four civilians, commanded by former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, will fly the Axiom banner to the ISS using a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and will stay up there for eight days.

In the fall of next year or in early 2023, the second Axiom mission, complete with scientific research and outreach activities, will take off, having just been cleared by NASA, this time for a 14-day stay on the station.

Known as Ax-2, the mission will be flown, probably also on a SpaceX machine, by John Shoffner, a 63-years old American who’s made a name for himself in racing, especially at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, but also in the VLN series.

We’re not entirely sure how the Russian did things with their film crew, but NASA pledges “proposed crew members would undergo NASA medical qualification testing to be approved for flight, […] as is standard for any space station crew.”

It’s unclear at this point if Tom Cruise will finally be on the list of people going to the International Space Station, after he was left out of the selection for the first crew.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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