10 months ago
An little-known company is racing to build the first private space station.
Axiom Space wants to use the International Space Station to build the orbital platform’s replacement. The start-up plans to use the only available docking port on the ISS to start constructing the commercial space station in 2020. The plan is to finish before the current space station is retired four years later.
The orbiting outpost won’t be a public endeavor, but it will be in familiar hands. Michael Suffredini, who ran NASA’s ISS program for a decade, co-founded Axiom Space with Kam Ghaffarian, the CEO of a company that works with NASA called SGT.
Before the ISS makes its final descent toward Earth in 2024, the Axiom module would detach from the ISS and construction will continue inside while it orbits the planet as the first commercial space station.
That’s all if everything goes according to plan. Axiom is currently shopping around launch providers and manufacturers for the module.
But, it’s not the only company angling for that prime spot in orbit in the private space race. Bigelow Aerospace is already aboard the ISS testing its inflatable module. It could beat out Axiom for the space station’s last open dock with its other prototype due in 2020 as well.