Axiom to offer space station vacations starting at $55 million

A company called Axiom has announced that it will offer low Earth orbit vacations via its own space station. The idea is to put the modules in orbit and attach them to the ISS to start with. When the ISS retired, the Axiom modules would be separated and stay in orbit around the Earth. The trips would be for the ultra-wealthy only with a $55 million price point for at least an 8-day stay in orbit.The company says that the trips could begin as early as the second half of 2021. For the first people that might book in 2020, they would stay aboard the ISS. While the intent is for its own modules, Axiom's plans are flexible as it's unclear how long the ISS will keep flying or what the assembly schedule is for the custom-built Axiom space habitation modules.

The 8-day orbital vacation would also include a 15-week training experience on Earth. In addition to sending rich people into orbit, the company says that it would also send researchers and entrepreneurs to the station. The latter group might want to develop in-space manufacturing facilities. Axiom has said that it has a contract with SpaceX for the use of the Crew Dragon capsule to take its passengers into orbit.

The mission will be the first of the "precursor missions" to the ISS envisioned under the Space Act Agreement with NASA. Talks are underway with NASA to establish additional enabling agreements for the private astronaut missions to the ISS. Once all is done, and the missions are ready to start, Axiom plans to offer flights to the ISS at up to two missions per year.

At the same item, the construction of the privately funded space station will continue. NASA has already selected Axiom's proposal to attach space station modules to the ISS starting in the second half of 2024. It's unclear how large the new Axiom Segment of the ISS will be.