Axiom Space develops commercial spacesuits and a space station

Axiom Space: Top of white spacesuit with clear faceplate, with a man inside.
New missions, new suit, new provider. Image via @Axiom_Space.

Axiom Space: Spacesuits, stations, and more

Private space flights are already a thing. But what about other commercial space-y things, such as space suits and maybe even space stations? The engineers of Axiom Space are currently busy developing spacesuits. And, in anticipation of their use, the privately funded infrastructure company is preparing to launch the first fully private crew to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022. Axiom has long-term goals of establishing its very own commercial space station after that.

The commercial company tweeted about their spacesuits on November 23, 2021:

The 2022 lunar calendars are here. A few left. Order yours before they’re gone!

Axiom’s civilian mission, called Ax-1, is currently expected to fly in February 2022. On it will be three civilian passengers marking their first spaceflight: Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe. It’ll be the fifth flight for retired NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who will command the mission. The astronauts will spend eight days together on the orbiting laboratory to conduct several research experiments. And although the mission comes far too soon to feature the new spacesuits, it prepares the way for Axiom’s longer-term private station plans.

Building the Axiom Orbital Segment

By 2028, Axiom plans to build and dock the first-ever commercial space station to the existing ISS. NASA granted access to Axiom in early 2020 to the forward port of the Harmony module of ISS, to which Axiom plans to dock its entire Axiom Orbital Segment. When the ISS reaches its retirement date, the Axiom Orbital Segment will detach and operate as a free-flying outpost. The first module could be launched in 2024, with the second, third, and fourth in 2025, 2026, and 2027, respectively.

Axiom also wants an airlock by 2027 to support spacewalks, otherwise known as extravehicular activities (EVAs). Hopefully, the company says, its new spacesuits will allow for infrastructure construction and maintenance in space. They would eliminate the cumbersome need to launch the modules from Earth in the way that previous stations have been built. In an interview with published December 23, Matt Ondler, Axiom’s chief technical officer, said that in-house suits could also attract new customers. He also said:

In many ways, the spacesuit is just like a space station. It has all the same systems and all the same things you worry about … We discovered that a lot of our private astronaut customers would like to experience an EVA. So we’re trying to figure out ways to make that very safe and easy to do.

Two large white cylinders attached to a larger white mechanical outpost, floating in black space.
Artist’s concept of what the Axiom Orbital Segment is expected to look like while docked with the Harmony module on ISS. Image via Axiom Space.

Axiom Space and its future plans

With its orbital plans in mind, Axiom aims to have the spacesuits ready by 2024. That timeline coincides with NASA’s hunt for new spacesuits to be used in spacewalks, moonwalks, and tasks at its prospective Gateway outpost. NASA has said it will start awarding contracts in 2022, and according to, Axiom hopes to be in the discussion. Perhaps the spacesuits Axiom is building today will be worn by men and women on the moon during the Artemis era. Ondler told

Having that capability in 2024 allows us to also partner with NASA and potentially be a suit provider for NASA …

Kam Ghaffarian founded Axiom in 2016. Michael Suffredini currently oversees the company. Both are former ISS program managers. It has headquarters in Houston, Texas, and the company boasts of its workforce of experienced space travelers and recruited NASA personnel. It has made claims to offer up to two flights to the ISS per year as they “align with flight opportunities as they are made available by NASA.” As for Ax-1, each passenger is reported to have paid $55 million for a seat.

Bottom line: Axiom Space is a privately funded space company busy with a slew of plans centered around spaceflight. While developing commercial spacesuits, it’s also preparing to launch the first fully private crew to ISS in 2022, with the long-term goal of establishing a commercial space station of its own.


January 9, 2022

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