The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected Axiom Space, a US-based space station manufacturer, to design, build and launch the commercial space station on the International Space Station (ISS).

The selection comes as Axiom Space wins the NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships 2 (NextSTEP-2) Appendix I solicitation.

The solicitation will grant access to the ISS’s Node 2 Forward port for a commercial space station to serve as ISS’ replacement.

Axiom will be responsible for the launch of a node module, research and manufacturing facility, crew habitat, and large-windowed Earth observatory that form the ‘Axiom Segment’ of the ISS.

The Axiom Station is planned to be constructed while attached to the ISS. Once the ISS is decommissioned, Axiom Segment will be detached and continue as a free-flying, internationally available commercial space station.

NASA former ISS programme manager Michael Suffredini said: “We appreciate the bold decision on the part of NASA to open up a commercial future in Low Earth Orbit.

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“Axiom exists to provide the infrastructure in space for a variety of users to conduct research, discover new technologies, test systems for exploration of the Moon and Mars, manufacture superior products for use in orbit and on the ground, and ultimately improve life back on Earth.

“As we build on the legacy and foundation established by the ISS Program, we look forward to working with NASA and the ecosystem of current and future international partners on this seminal effort.”

Axiom’s team, which also includes Boeing, Thales Alenia Space Italy, Intuitive Machines, and Maxar Technologies, is planning to launch the first module of the platform in 2024.

The company will also be responsible for the launch of crewed flights to the ISS as well as to the ISS/Axiom complex in future.  

Additionally, a large power platform will be provided to the Axiom Segment power and cooling that ISS previously provided, prior to retirement of the ISS.

Axiom Station will be constructed while attached to the ISS. (Credit: Axiom Space, Inc.)