NASA Conducting Market Research for New Private Astronaut Missions
NASA wants to obtain proposals for two upcoming private astronaut missions to the International Space Station.
The space agency plans to host the first mission between the fall of 2022 and mid-2023 and the second between mid-2023 and the end of that year.
Both missions may go on for up to 14 days, with the dates to be determined based on spacecraft traffic to the ISS and in-orbit activity planning and constraints, NASA said.
The private astronaut missions are one of NASA’s ways to develop a robust low-Earth orbit economy. Such commercial flights are privately funded and occur twice a year. Private astronauts travel to the ISS aboard NASA-certified U.S. vehicles.
NASA partnered with Axiom Space for the first private astronaut mission, which will take place no earlier than January 2022. The spaceflight, designated Axiom Mission 1, will take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Private astronaut mission providers may submit proposals to NASA until July 9. A pre-proposer’s conference will be held on June 22 to field industry questions.
NASA recently announced two new space exploration missions in its Discovery program aimed at gaining a better understanding of Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, Venus.
The DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions, which were selected over two other mission concepts, are scheduled for launch in the 2028 to 2030 timeframe.
Tags: Axiom Mission 1 Axiom Space International Space Station ISS LEO economy low-Earth orbit NASA private astronaut missions space