Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales and Leonardo will provide two key pressurized elements for the world’s first commercial space station.
On Wednesday, the company announced the signature of an ATP (Authorization To Proceed) with Axiom Space of Houston, Texas to initiate development of the Key elements.
In January, NASA selected Axiom’s proposal to attach its space station modules to the International Space Station (ISS) starting from the second half of 2024, ultimately creating a new ‘Axiom Segment’ which will expand the usable and habitable volume of the ISS. When the ISS reaches its retirement date, the Axiom complex will detach and operate as a free-flying commercial space station. The Axiom Segment will be attached to the ISS Node 2 built by Thales Alenia Space.
Axiom is offering professional and private astronaut flights to the ISS at a rate of up to two per year, with the first set to launch in October 2021, while it develops the new station elements.
Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for the design, development, assembly and test of the primary structure and the Micrometeoroid & Debris Protection System for the first two Axiom station elements to fly- Axiom Node One (AxN1) and Habitation Module (AxH). Axiom will receive these elements at their facility in Houston for integration and outfitting of core systems and certification of flight prior to shipping to the launch facility.
The company has previously supplied pressurized elements for the International Space Station, including components such as Node 2, Node 3, Columbus (pressurized part) - European Laboratory, Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), the Permanent Logistic Module (PPM) and Cupola, as well as the ATV and Cygnus cargo modules.