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Saudi Arabia purchased two tickets for SpaceX astronauts from Axiom

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In Science and Space: Saudi Arabia plans to take two astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX space capsule, according to three people familiar with the deal, and the US private space company. become the latest Gulf country to strengthen ties with

As part of the deal, two Saudi astronauts will travel to the space station early next year to spend about a week in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, sources said. The Saudis will be the first to go to space on a private spacecraft from their own country.

Axiom Space in Houston, which arranges and manages private missions to space on U.S. spacecraft for researchers and tourists, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the mission crew ahead of the official announcement. It said the deal was unofficially signed earlier this year.

Axiom was not available for comment. Officials at the Saudi Space Commission, Riyadh’s space agency founded in 2018, were not immediately available for comment.

Civilian astronauts to board Ax-2 have not yet been approved by his NASA-led panel of countries involved with the space station, including Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency, U.S. officials said. rice field. Officials added that the mission is likely to be approved.

For Axiom and other space companies, doing business with foreign governments is considered essential to sustaining a business focused on getting people into space. Taking people into space is a luxury for wealthy adventurers and a source of national prestige and inspiration for emerging space powers like Saudi Arabia. Axiom launched its first civilian mission to the space station in April, sending a four-person crew to the space station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which includes Canadian investors and Israeli businessmen. And on Monday, Axiom announced an agreement with Turkey to launch the country’s first two of his astronauts in late 2023. This is probably for the Ax-3 mission, according to those familiar with the flight.
Axiom’s astronaut flight operation is a pivotal experience in the company’s broader goal of deploying its own private space station by mid-decade. Once the existing international laboratory is decommissioned around 2030, we plan to first install the module on the ISS before splitting it into a completely private structure.

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The significance of Axiom’s Saudi arrangement was unclear. Each Crew Dragon seat on Axiom’s inaugural trip cost $55 million.

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