NASA has chosen Axiom Space to create a commercial module for ISS (International Space Station). This is a step towards NASA’s achievement of commercializing LEO (Low Earth Orbit) by enhancing companies such as Axiom to create its space facilities so that in the coming days, NASA can lend services rather than own as well as operate Low Earth Orbit infrastructure.
NASA has solicited bids through their NextSTEP – Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). This means it provides companies with a chance to dock the module at the port on the International Space Station Node 2. Moreover, this follows with the longer-term approach of separating it from building a free flying commercially owned as well as operated space station. Today NASA has called it a commercial reach out module as it is the first, recommending that others are in the offing.
KBR brought Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT), which offers Astronaut training and International Space Station management services to NASA in 2018. This means SGT still provides services, and provides major engineering support services. The approach is for the Axiom to be able to launch its module titled as, the Axiom Segment, in 2024. To some extent in the coming years before decommissioning International Space Station, NASA will launch the biggest power website and change the module from International Space Station to the site for continuous operation as a commercial space station
Although the date for decommissioning ISS is not yet determined, the International Space Station partners such as the United States and 11 nations operating through European Space Agency are very committed to operations throughout 2024 despite the pending NASA authorization bills in congress. This pending of the organization’s authorization bills will lead to an extension of the United States’ commitment to 2028 or 2030.
In conclusion, NASA is organizing a full-court press to be able to commercialize its crewed space facilities in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) as it will need faster access to the facilities in the future. Since International Space Station is only there for a short period, the United States government has no approaches to create another. International Space Station operations are too much expensive. This is three to four US billion dollars per year. For that reason, NASA hopes that other customers will arise, and shall enable them to lend what it needs only for less interest. Axiom Space hopes to deliver the most remarkable results.