During the mission, dubbed AX-1, the four-member crew spent nearly two weeks off Earth’s surface, at least in part to conduct experiments and other scientific work. Other space tourism companies like Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic only offer their customers short trips allowing a few minutes of microgravity.
The requirement is still being finalized, NASA added, but the agency noted that having a legitimate former astronaut “provides experienced guidance to private astronauts during pre-flight preparation through to flight.” execution of the assignment”. The former NASA astronaut also “provides a link” between ISS residents and private astronauts, which the agency says “reduces risk” to ISS operations and safety.
Axiom has previously said its second private astronaut mission to the ISS, dubbed AX-2 and set to launch next year, will have former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson as mission commander.
Speaking at the International Space Station’s annual research and development conference last week, López-Alegría explained how he became mission commander for flight AX-1, saying he doesn’t know. didn’t initially expect to return to space after retiring from NASA.
When Axiom was looking for customers, however, “it became pretty clear, first of all, that customers really didn’t want to fly with anyone who had done it before,” he said. It also became apparent, he said, “NASA was much more comfortable having someone who had been there before.”
“We had a meeting and we looked around the room and I was the only guy who had been to space, so I raised my hand. I volunteered,” López-Alegría joked during the conference.
NASA is also adding additional requirements that appear to be the result of new information from the AX-1 mission. Future private missions to the space station will include more time for “adapting to microgravity,” as the floating environment of the ISS can often induce space sickness, which is akin to motion sickness.
The federal space agency will also make clarifications to the ISS code of conduct for business visitors, requirements for more detailed plans regarding crew interactions with the media, as well as a requirement for additional time to assess. research proposals before they are embarked.
“If it hadn’t been for NASA’s Crew 3 astronauts and their phenomenal help, we would never – emphasize the word never – have been able to accomplish all of our goals,” Connor said. at the time. “We underestimated the time spent on some projects. At first, we had a project that we thought was two and a half hours would take five hours.”
A NASA representative did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for further comment on the new requirements. They come, however, as the private spaceflight industry has officially taken off after decades of people having had to rely largely on government agencies and the extraordinarily selective astronaut hiring process if they wanted to go into space. Now, those seeking to leave the surface of the Earth must simply have the means to pay.