SpaceX to send three astronauts to the International Space Station by 2021

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 06, 2020 Published on March 06, 2020

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center as viewed in Vero Beach, Florida, US. (FILE PHOTO)   -  Reuters

SpaceX, in yet another major announcement concerning space tourism for private citizens, has partnered with Houston-based startup Axiom Space for a fully private 10-day trip to the International Space Station sometime in late 2021.

Elon-musk led space company will use its Falcon 9 rocket and the new Crew Dragon spacecraft, the company announced on Thursday.

The logistics for this ‘space vacation’ will be managed by Axiom.

“Axiom has signed a contract with SpaceX for a Crew Dragon flight which will transport a commander professionally trained by Axiom alongside three private astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The mission, set to launch as soon as the second half of 2021, will allow the crew to live aboard the ISS and experience at least eight days of microgravity and views of Earth that can only be fully appreciated in the large, venerable station,” Axiom said in an official statement.

“This is the first of Axiom’s proposed “precursor missions” to the ISS envisioned under its Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA. Discussions with NASA are underway to establish additional enabling agreements for the private astronaut missions to ISS,” it further said.

This is SpaceX’s second agreement with a private company to enable space tourism for private citizens.

SpaceX, in February, has announced its partnership with private spaceflight company Space Adventures to send civilians to space.

As per the agreement, the company will enable a space trip two to three times farther than the International Space Station into the Earth’s orbit as per the official release by private spaceflight company Space Adventures. So far, the company has enabled spaceflights to and from the International Space Station aboard Russia’s Soyuz rocket and spacecraft for seven private astronauts.

SpaceX had built the Crew Dragon spaceship in agreement with NASA. Elon Musk's brain-child had entered into the venture after receiving $2.6 billion from NASA in 2014 for the development of Crew Dragon, according to a CNN report.

Published on March 06, 2020

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