SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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Former National Space Council Official, Jared Stout, Joins Axiom Space Government Relations Team

HOUSTON (Axiom Space PR) — Commercial space leader Axiom Space is pleased to announce the hire of Jared Stout, formerly the Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the White House National Space Council, to serve as the company’s Vice President of Government and External Relations, beginning on August 15.  At Axiom, which is currently constructing the world’s first commercial space station to succeed the International Space Station (ISS), Mr. Stout will oversee advocacy and outreach initiatives and serve as a thought leader for the company’s policy objectives spanning the U.S. Government as well as state and regional activities. 

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Commercial Space Travelers Outnumbered Professional Astronauts in First Half of 2022

Axiom Mission 1 astronauts, left to right, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, Michael López-Alegría, and Eytan Stibbe. The astronauts are approved by NASA and its international partners for Axiom Space’s first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. (Credits: Chris Gunn – Axiom Space)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The first half of 2022 saw more commercial travelers — 16 — launch into space than the 10 professional astronauts who work for government-run space agencies. However, those numbers come with an asterisk or two.

Four of the 14 astronauts who launched into orbit flew on Axiom Space’s privately funded and operated crew flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Blue Origin launched 12 individuals into space on two flights of the company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle.

The other 10 astronauts who launched to ISS and the Tiangong space station worked fulltime for NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), China Manned Space Agency, or Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation. SpaceX flew American and European astronauts to ISS on the company-owned Crew Dragon spacecraft under a NASA contract. The Russians and Chinese flew aboard government-owned and operated spacecraft.

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UAE Pilot Assigned to Crew-6 Space Station Mission

Sultan AlNeyadi (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The final crew member for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission, currently targeted to launch to the International Space Station in spring 2023, has been announced. The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) named Sultan AlNeyadi to spend approximately six months aboard the space station as part of Expeditions 68/69. Mission Specialist AlNeyadi joins NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the mission, and cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev of Roscosmos.

To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the International Space Station, NASA signed a contract in 2021 with Axiom Space to fly a NASA astronaut on a Soyuz rotation in exchange for a seat on a future U.S. commercial spacecraft. Axiom announced an agreement on April 29, 2022, with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the UAE to fly its crew member in the seat.

The UAE astronaut corps has been in training with NASA at the Johnson Space Center since 2019, including spacewalk training, onboard systems and T-38 training. AlNeyadi will continue crewmember training for the Dragon spacecraft and international partner segments.

Axiom Space and Hungary Sign MOU To Expand Relationship in Space

WASHINGTON (Axiom Space PR) — Axiom Space and the Hungarian government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further their existing relationship in human spaceflight and to advance opportunities in space research and technology development. The agreement between Axiom and Hungary was signed on July 20, 2022,  in Washington, D.C.  

The main focus of the new agreement is to further the Hungarian to Orbit (HUNOR) program, Hungary’s astronaut program, which aims to send a Hungarian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) via a future Axiom Space commercial astronaut mission. Building off the first agreement between Axiom and the Hungarian government, signed on December of 2021, which formalized a partnership to return a Hungarian astronaut to space, this MOU enables a wide range of cooperation and possible joint developments between Axiom Space and Hungary. It acknowledges both the importance the company plays in helping to define the future of human space flight, including through the future Axiom Station, as well as the capacities and space heritage of the Hungarian space sector.

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KBR to Support $3.5B Next-Generation Spacesuit Development for Return to the Moon and Beyond

HOUSTON (KBR Inc. PR) — KBR (NYSE: KBR) is pleased to announce it is a major partner to Axiom Space, which NASA selected as one of two companies eligible to support the development of NASA’s next-generation spacesuit and spacewalk systems through the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) contract. This comprehensive contract includes a full range of services, including design, testing, and verification of manufacturing and processing of the new spacesuits. KBR will co-locate with Axiom Space in their facilities.

The xEVAS contract, which advances extravehicular activity capability for low-Earth orbit, on the lunar surface, and future human missions to Mars, is managed out of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) through the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and Human Surface Mobility Program. The milestone-based contract’s period of performance continues through 2034 with a potential total value of $3.5 billion across the life of the program.

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Sidus Space is a Teammate on NASA’s $3.5 Billion Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services Contract

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Sinus Space, Inc. PR)Sidus Space, Inc. (NASDAQ:SIDU), a Space-as-a-Service company focused on mission critical hardware manufacturing; multi-disciplinary engineering services; satellite design, production, launch planning, mission operations; and in-orbit support is proud to announce that it is part of the Collins Aerospace team which was awarded NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Activity (xEVAS) services contract.

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Axiom Space wins NASA Contract to build Next Generation Astronaut Spacesuits

Members of Axiom Space’s Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) work on building the next generation spacesuit at the company’s Houston headquarters. (Image Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON (Axiom Space PR) — Axiom Space announced today that it has been awarded the NASA Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) Contract.  Axiom is one of two companies to win the award with a potential total value of $3.5 billion across the life of the program. Under the terms of the contract, the Houston-based company will build the space agency’s next generation astronaut spacesuits that may be used for low Earth Orbit (LEO) and the Artemis lunar missions. The new spacesuits by Axiom Space will provide astronauts with advanced capabilities for space exploration while providing NASA commercially developed human systems needed to access, live, and work in microgravity and on and around the Moon. 

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NASA Partners with Industry for New Spacewalking, Moonwalking Services

An artist’s illustration of two suited crew members working on the lunar surface. The one in the foreground lifts a rock to examine it while the other photographs the collection site in the background. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to advance spacewalking capabilities in low-Earth orbit and at the Moon, by buying services that provide astronauts with next generation spacesuit and spacewalk systems to work outside the International Space Station, explore the lunar surface on Artemis missions, and prepare for human missions to Mars.

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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.

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Axiom Space Breaks Ground on New Headquarters and Space Station Production Facility at Houston Spaceport

The new Axiom Space campus will include astronaut training and mission control facilities, engineering development and testing labs, and a production facility for Axiom’s space station modules. (Credit: Jacobs Engineering)

HOUSTON, May 11, 2022 (Axiom Space PR) – The future of low-Earth orbit and human spaceflight in Space City, has a new base of operations as Axiom Space breaks ground on a new state-of-the-art headquarters in Houston.

On Wednesday, May 11, commercial space leader Axiom Space and the City of Houston celebrated groundbreaking at the company’s new, long-term headquarters at Ellington Airport, the site of the Houston Spaceport. There, Axiom Space – which is developing Axiom Station, the world’s first commercial space station – will construct a campus containing employee offices, astronaut training, and mission control facilities, engineering development and testing labs, and a high bay production facility to house Axiom’s space station modules under construction.

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MDA Completes First Commercial Sale of Canadarm3 Technology to Axiom Space

Contract for robotic interfaces another important milestone as company brings full suite of commercial space products to market

BRAMPTON, ON (MDA Inc. PR) – MDA Ltd. (TSX: MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly expanding global space industry, today announced the first commercial sale of its Canadarm3 technology to Axiom Space. The contract is for the delivery of 32 external robotic interfaces for Axiom Space’s Axiom Station which is now under construction and on schedule to be the world’s first commercial space station in orbit.

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Axiom Space and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center Sign Agreement for Astronaut to Fly on the International Space Station in 2023

Axiom Space and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) signed an agreement for a United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut to fly on the International Space Station in 2023. The agreement was signed at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. on April 27 by Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director-General of MBRSC and Michael Suffredini, President and CEO of Axiom Space. (Image Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON (Axiom Space PR) — The exciting new era of commercial human spaceflight ushered in over the past three weeks by the successful Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first  private mission to the International Space Station (ISS), entered a new phase with the signing of an agreement between Axiom Space and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to fly a UAE professional crew member to the ISS on NASA’s SpaceX Crew 6, expected to occur in 2023.

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Private Axiom 1 Mission Splashes Down After 17 Days in Space

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Axiom Space astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy have safely returned to Earth, marking the end of the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) – the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, carrying the crew of four and more than 200 pounds of science and supplies, including NASA experiments and hardware, undocked from the space station at 9:10 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 24. About 16 hours later, the vehicle splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

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Axiom Mission 1 Undock Postponed to Sunday, Space Station Reboosts

The 11-person crew aboard the station comprises of (clockwise from bottom right) Expedition 67 Commander Tom Marshburn with Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, Sergey Korsakov, Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer; and Axiom Mission 1 astronauts (center row from left) Mark Pathy, Eytan Stibbe, Larry Conner, and Michael Lopez-Alegria. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — At the conclusion of a weather briefing ahead of today’s planned undocking, NASA, Axiom Space, and SpaceX teams elected to wave off today’s undocking attempt due to a diurnal low wind trough which has been causing marginally high winds at the splashdown sites. The Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) crew is now targeting to undock from the International Space Station 8:55 p.m. EDT Sunday, April 24.

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