Commercialization has hit space as NASA on February 3, announced that Axiom Space has been chosen to create the first commercial space station along with designer Philippe Starck, according to international reports. The Houston-based company has been involved with every ISS mission for the past 20 years and aims in creating a space station to cater to private companies, space agencies or tourists. The company has claimed that it plans to send the first module by the end of 2024.
NASA aims to foster commercial enterprise in orbit so it becomes a user, not a provider, of services so that it can focus on its broader goals like sending people to the Moon and Mars, claims Axiom. To aid in this matter, Axiom plans to launch two modules after its first one in 2024 - one for habitation and another manufacturing, according to reports. When the ISS retires, the Axiom Space modules will reportedly break away and continue to operate from its own space station. Reports state that Axiom already has a deal with either Boeing or SpaceX to fly an Axiom crew to the station in 2021.
Axiom's executive chairman Dr. Kam Ghaffarian released a statement: "A commercial platform in Earth orbit is an opportunity to mark a shift in our society similar to that which astronauts undergo when they see the planet from above. Our goal is to advance the state of humanity and human knowledge. I am glad to see the Axiom team, with its advanced human spaceflight, engineering, and operations expertise, recognized for its potential to do just that and build off of ISS".
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has recently blamed the American space agency's bureaucracy for not yet returning astronauts to the moon, as he replied to a tweet. This comment comes amidst the US Congress proposing a bill urging NASA to push back its moon landing mission to 2028 instead of 2024 and focus on the Mars. NASA plans to partner with commercial and international partners to establish sustainable missions by 2028 - with a manned mission 'Artemis-2' to space and then by 2024 it plans to land on the moon.