Axiom Space and Italian Government Sign Historic MOU to Expand Commercial Utilization of Space

The President and CEO of Axiom Space, Michael Suffredini (left), and Italy’s Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition, Vittorio Colao, (right) sign a MOU in Rome. The agreement furthers the Italian government’s and Axiom Space’s existing collaboration, including the potential for the development of space infrastructure integrated with the future Axiom Station, the world’s first commercial space station. (Image Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON (Axiom Space PR) — Axiom Space, a leader in human spaceflight currently building the world’s first commercial space station, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Italian government to further their existing collaboration, including the potential for the development of space infrastructure integrated with the future Axiom Station. The agreement was signed by the President and CEO of Axiom Space, Michael Suffredini, and Italy’s Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition, Vittorio Colao, on 19 May in Rome, Italy.

(more…)

Watch SpaceX Launch Next Crew to Space Station on Wednesday

Official portrait of Crew-4 astronauts Bob Hines, Samantha Cristoforetti, Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren. (Credit: NASA-J.Valcarcel/ R.Markowitz/N.Moran)

SpaceX Mission Update

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — SpaceX and NASA are targeting no earlier than Wednesday, April 27 for Falcon 9’s launch of Crew-4, Dragon’s fourth science expedition mission to the International Space Station, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Launch is targeted for 3:52 a.m. ET (7:52 UTC), with a backup opportunity available on Thursday, April 28.

This will be the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission and the fourth flight for Falcon 9’s first stage booster, which previously launched CRS-22, Crew-3, and Turksat 5B. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will land on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

During their time at the orbiting laboratory, the Crew-4 astronauts will conduct over 200 science experiments in areas such as materials science, health technologies, and plant science to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.

You can watch the live launch webcast starting about 4 hours before liftoff. 

Richard Branson Gets His Astronaut Wings, Aims to Eliminate Asterisk* Next Time

Unity 22 crew: Michael Masucci, Colin Bennett, Richard Branson, Sirisha Bandla, David Mackay and Beth Moses at the 37th Space Symposium. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
  • Billionaire aims to go higher and faster next time
  • Virgin Galactic still can’t get SpaceShipTwo all the way up (to Karman line)
  • FAA throws in the towel on deciding who is and who isn’t an astronaut

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Earlier this month, Richard Branson and two Virgin Galactic employees received commercial astronaut wings from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity flight test they took part in last July. The trio was the last group to receive the wings — FAA ended the program last year — and the honors came with a pretty big asterisk.

(more…)

Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Briefing, Events, Broadcast

Official portrait of Crew-4 astronauts Bob Hines, Samantha Cristoforetti, Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren. (Credit: NASA-J.Valcarcel/ R.Markowitz/N.Moran)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission sending astronauts to the International Space Station.

The launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, dubbed by Crew-4 as Freedom, is scheduled to dock to the space station at 6 a.m. Sunday, April 24.

(more…)

Roscosmos Looks to Make Space Tourist Training Even Shorter

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. (Credit: NASA TV)

TASS reports that it is theoretically possible to reduce the time it takes to train a non-professional astronaut (aka, space tourists or spaceflight participants) to fly to orbit aboard the Soyuz spacecraft to under the current four months. Paying customers used to spend months in training prior to a flight.

(more…)

Ax-1 Private Astronaut Mission Arrives at International Space Station

Space station crew welcomes the Ax-1 astronauts to the ISS. (Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON (Axiom Space PR) — The historic Ax-1 crew has arrived at the International Space Station. Commander  Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Larry Connor, Mission Specialist Eytan Stibbe, and Mission Specialist Mark Pathy entered the space station shortly after the hatch opened at 10:13 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 9.   

(more…)

Accenture Invests in Titan Space Technologies to Help Unlock the Next Frontier of Innovation through Space Experimentation

NEW YORK, Apr. 6, 2022 (Accenture PR) – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has made a strategic investment, through Accenture Ventures, in Titan Space Technologies, an orbital compute platform that offers real-time monitoring and neural engine capabilities to accelerate the next generation of scientific technology innovations for enterprises, such as adaptive immune response, carbon capture and biomedical applications.

As part of Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission, Titan successfully deployed and ran its first suite of machine learning models on HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

(more…)

Ax-1 Mission Launches Successfully; 4 Private Astronauts En Route to Space Station

Ax-1 crew prior to launch. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Axiom Space PR) — Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the world’s first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), launched Friday. The four-person multi-national crew of Ax-1 is now in orbit following an 11:17 a.m. EDT liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  

(more…)

Both Launch Pads at NASA Kennedy Space Center Occupied

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B as the Artemis I launch team prepares for the next attempt of the wet dress rehearsal test, right, as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Ax-1 mission is the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Ax-1 crew members Commander Michael López-Alegría of Spain and the United States, Pilot Larry Connor of the United States, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe of Israel, and Mark Pathy of Canada are scheduled to launch on April 8 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA’s First Practice Countdown of Space Launch System Ends with Glass (and Tank) Half Filled

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022, as the Artemis I launch team conducts the wet dress rehearsal test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

by David Bullock and Douglas Messier

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA ended its first attempt to conduct a wet dress rehearsal for the maiden flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft to the moon on Tuesday after four days of wrestling with a series of technical challenges and weather delays.

(more…)

Sierra Space To Revolutionize Space Exploration With Siemens’ Xcelerator

Dream Chaser Tenacity (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
  • Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio of software and services is central to Sierra Space’s plans for its next-generation digital engineering platform.
  • Dream Chaser® spaceplane, the world’s only winged commercial spaceplane is being designed, engineered, built and tested using Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio.
  • LIFE™ habitat to provide commercial habitation and science platform to be developed in a Digital Twin approach.

PLANO, Texas (Siemens Digital PR) — Siemens Digital Industries Software today announced that Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company at the forefront of creating and building the future of space transportation and infrastructure for Low Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization, has implemented Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio of software and services as the foundation of its next-generation digital engineering program.  The company is implementing Xcelerator to establish a fully digital environment from engineering to manufacturing through sustainment, which will help realize goals to develop the future of space transportation, commercial space destination and infrastructure, and create enabling technologies that will build a vibrant, growing and accessible commercial space economy.

(more…)

PickNik Robotics to Collaborate with Sierra Space on LEO Habitats and Long-Duration Missions

LIFE habitat cutaway (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Collaboration Will Lead to Robotic Autonomy Solutions that Significantly Improve the Ability to Support Low Earth Orbit, Lunar and Deep Space Missions

Boulder, Colo., March 29, 2022 (Sierra Space PR) — PickNik Robotics, a leader in robotics software and engineering services, today announced that it is collaborating with the team at Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company with 1,100 employees, more than 500 missions and over 30 years of space flight heritage. The collaboration will explore implementation of robotic autonomy and controllability for autonomous maintenance of space habitat environments. 

(more…)

Coverage Set for Axiom Mission 1 Briefings, Events, Broadcast

Ax-1 crew members (Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Axiom Space will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will provide coverage for docking and undocking operations and some prelaunch and launch activities.

Liftoff is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 6, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew will travel to the orbiting outpost aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft after launching on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

(more…)

Record Breaking NASA Astronaut to Return to Earth on Wednesday Aboard Russian Soyuz as Private Mission to ISS Looms

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei studies cotton genetics for the Plant Habitat-5 space agriculture experiment. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three Expedition 66 Flight Engineers are returning to Earth in less than two days as four private astronauts prepare for their mission to the International Space Station. The crew activities haven’t stopped the ongoing space research as the orbital residents studied biology, botany, and physics on Monday.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is nearing the end of his mission as he prepares to return to Earth on Wednesday after a NASA-record breaking 355 days in space. Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov will lead Vande Hei and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship when they undock from the Rassvet module at 3:21 a.m. EDT on Wednesday. The trio will parachute to a landing just over four hours later.

(more…)