Saudi astronauts will travel on the ISS Ax-2 mission | Tech US News


Saudi astronauts will travel on the ISS Ax-2 mission
November 7, 2022: Two astronauts from Saudi Arabia will go to the International Space Station on a private mission led by Axiom Space in the spring of 2023, NASA announced Nov. 1 in a press release.

She stated that the names of the two Saudi passengers have not yet been made public. He also added: “We are already working very hard with them in training.”

The two would receive official names after approval by the Multilateral Crew Operations Panel for the ISS program, according to a slide from his presentation. In that same slide, it was noted that mission crew training had begun on October 17.

The Saudi Space Commission and Axiom Space separately announced plans on September 22 to fly two Saudi citizens on a future Axiom space mission. However, while the two were rumored to fly in the Ax-2, no announcement indicated a specific mission. The Saudi statement said one of the two people would be a woman, but did not reveal how the astronauts would be selected. The commission did not respond to questions about the selection process at the time.

According to Hart, the planned Ax-2 trip will be comparable to the private astronaut mission Ax-1 in April, which lasted two weeks on the station. At the station, he will conduct research for corporate and non-profit organizations during the 10-day mission.

“We learned a lot on the first mission,” he said. “We have completed updating many of our planning and delivery milestones and timelines based on lessons learned from the Ax-1.”

A new requirement that private astronaut missions be led by a former NASA astronaut with flight experience is one of the lessons learned for future missions. In August, NASA announced that it had added that condition in light of lessons learned during the Mission Ax-1which was led by former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegra and “other recent civilian manned space flights.”

The modification does not affect the Ax-2, although Whitson, a former astronaut, has already been appointed by Axiom as captain. The condition applies to two upcoming private astronaut missions to the ISS between late 2023 and late 2024 for which NASA solicited ideas in September.

Those bids have to be submitted to NASA by Oct. 27, Hart said, and decisions should be made by the end of the year or early next year. NASA, she said, instituted “more stringent duty requirements” in addition to the mission commander requirement to address busy schedules. They also built in time for crews to acclimate to the station and set up and take down equipment.

This article is written by Diya Mukherjee


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