The telescope of the future is preparing in the hands of Space Station tourists

Axiom-1 (Ax-1) tourists aren't on the Space Station just for sightseeing! They will carry out dozens of experiments, some of which are of great interest, even likely to lead to very significant advances. We can cite the Flute experiment that the Israeli Eytan Stibbe will carry out. It must demonstrate the feasibility of producing lenses in microgravity by shaping liquids, which could pave the way for the manufacture of very large space telescope mirrors, much larger than the James-Webb, for example. In a previous article, we pointed out that Axiom-1 space tourists came aboard the International Space Station (ISS) not just for sightseeing. But to live and work there like “real people”! That is, like professional astronauts. Larry Connor (United States), Mark Pathy (Canada), Eytan Stibbe (Israel), all three of whom have succeeded in the business world, therefore take their role as operators very seriously. Unlike professional astronauts, paid to live and work on board the ISS, all three financed their trip and paid to work on board! And not just a little. Each has more or less disbursed the sum of 55 million dollars. As Axiom Space rightly points out, the Ax-1 mission “inaugurates a new phase in the use of low orbit and microgravity by non-governmental entities”. That said, of course, they are not required to carry out the most delicate tasks related to the maintenance of the orbital complex and will not go out into space to repair defective equipment or install equipment. On the other hand, they have voluntarily complied with an intense program with a multitude of experiments to be carried out, some of which are very innovative and of great interest, both scientifically and technologically. All the experiments of Ax-1 passed the filter of NASA and the European Space Agency. An experiment to lay the foundations of a major technology for the astronomy of the futureAmong all the experiments in progress or yet to be carried out, let us mention Flute (Fluidic Telescope Experiment) headed by Eytan Stibbe. Conceived by researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology (the Technion) and researchers at Nasa's Ames and Goddard Centers, Flute has some exciting goals. It must demonstrate the possibility of taking advantage of microgravity to produce lenses by shaping liquids into the desired geometries and then solidifying them. In simpler terms, injecting a liquid that can solidify into mounts of any shape. If this experiment succeeds, it could pave the way for the manufacture of new optical components for terrestrial use, but also lay the foundations for space telescopes with very, very large mirrors. For now, it's science fiction, but NASA believes in a horizon beyond 2050. In a recent press release, NASA's Ames research center points out that if it is possible to use in space (microgravity) fluids to create lenses, then it will be possible to envisage telescopes 10 to 100 times larger than those in service (Hubble, James-Webb…) or in project (Luvoir, Habex…). Well, we are still far from it, but everything needs a start! As Edward Balaban, principal investigator of the Flute experiment at the Ames Center, points out, if the experiment is successful, it will be the first time an optical component has been fabricated in space. It's a bit like going down in history.” Event: follow the launch by SpaceX of the first private crew for a mission to the Space StationArticle by Rémy Decourt published on 08/04/2022 The chronology repetition with filling of the SLS launcher having been completed, the launch of the first private crew bound for the International Space Station may take place. If all goes according to plan, the four members of this crew will board a SpaceX Crew Dragon and take off this Friday at 5:17 p.m. (Paris time). We are changing eras with the opening of a new chapter of inhabited exploration. More than 20 years after Expedition 1 in October 2000, which kicked off the permanent occupation of the International Space Station, it is today that SpaceX must launch the manned mission Axiom-1 (Ax-1 ) bound for the ISS. On board, Larry Connor (United States), Mark Pathy (Canada), Eytan Stibbe (Israel) and Michael López-Alegría, former NASA astronaut who will act as commander. It is therefore an entirely private crew that must join the Station for a mission lasting several days. If this is not the first time that tourists have climbed and stayed on board the orbital complex, it is the first time that they have not been accompanied by a professional astronaut on duty to supervise them. The launch of the Crew Dragon, aboard a Falcon 9 launch vehicle, is scheduled for 5:17 p.m. (Paris time) from launch pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Follow the launch of the Ax-1 mission live. © SpaceX If NASA authorized this mission, it was because the guarantees provided by Axiom on the seriousness of the preparation of the crew convinced it. But not only. The Ax-1 crew will be mentored by Michael López-Alegría, Vice President of Axiom Space. An old NASA acquaintance. At 63, this former NASA employee has already spent nearly 258 days in space and 10 spacewalks. He participated in three missions with the American space shuttle and made a stay in the ISS. Another acquaintance of NASA, the founder of Axiom Space, Michael Suffredini who is none other than the former head of the Space Station program at NASA from 2005 to 2015! Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) is now targeting launch no earlier than Friday, April 8 at 11:17 am. EDT. Follow the mission and learn about the update below. #Ax1 — Axiom Space (@Axiom_Space) April 4, 2022Three space tourists who also come to workBuilding on the experience of these two former NASA employees, the crew was able to train and prepare in excellent conditions. Since August 2021, he has prepared at several NASA facilities, including those at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where NASA astronauts train. The training received by each of the members of Ax-1 allowed them to familiarize themselves with the routine use of the ISS, the scientific installations on board the orbital complex and emergency procedures. They also received training from SpaceX at its facilities in Hawthorne, California. This training allowed them to familiarize themselves with the operation of the Crew Dragon capsule. The crew of Ax-1 should stay on board the ISS for eight days. Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe who each paid around $55 million for their stay will not just be watching Earth from the cupola. With researchers and scientists, they have prepared a relatively dense program, more than a hundred hours of research and experimentation, mainly in the field of technology and medicine. They will also carry out awareness and commercial activities and carry out more personal and philanthropic projects. As for Michael López-Alegría, who knows the place, he will focus on the Harmony module. It is indeed at this place that the first module of the Axiom segment of the ISS must moor in 2024. Two other modules and an observation dome should follow. A module, which will serve, among other things, as a film studio for the film to be shot by American actor Tom Cruise, is also planned. The Axiom segment will be detached from the ISS in 2028 and will become an autonomous space station. The first private crew will take off for the Space Station on April 6Article by Rémy Decourt published on 04/02/2022 Small setback for AX-1, Axiom's first commercial mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX, which provides the transport, postponed the launch for a few days to do last-minute checks. This historic flight – it is the first entirely private crew to join and stay on board the orbital complex – will take off on April 6. The first fully private crew to stay aboard the International Space Station will have to wait a few more days before taking off aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon to reach the International Space Station (ISS). Initially scheduled a few days ago, the takeoff of AX-1, that is the name of the mission, is now scheduled for April 6 at the earliest. This mission marketed by Axiom Space has the particularity that its four crew members all leave as private. It therefore does not have any professional astronauts in service in a space agency to supervise the mission and support Axiom's customers. That said, the crew of AX-1 will obviously not be on their own. It will be led by Michael López-Alegría, Vice President of Axiom Space. At 63, this former NASA employee has already spent nearly 258 days in space and 10 spacewalks. He participated in three missions with the American space shuttle and made a stay in the ISS. Like “real” Michael López-Alegría will therefore be accompanied by three crew members. There's Crew Dragon pilot Larry Connor, and mission specialists Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe. Said like that, one could think of dealing with professional astronauts from one or more space agencies! But these three private individuals are indeed space tourists and they all wanted to give meaning to their mission. They have therefore trained and prepared like the “real ones” and will carry out a research program prepared with agencies or scientists as well as philanthropic projects. Their stay is planned to last eight days in the American segment of the Space Station. We suspect that they will not be confined to American modules alone… With Axiom and SpaceX, the International Space Station will become trendy!Article by Rémy Decourt published on 06/06/2021 Space tourism for the Station international space is accelerating. After the announcement at the start of the year of a first manned commercial and tourist mission, SpaceX and Axiom Space have concluded a new agreement which provides for three other manned flights aboard the Crew Dragon to the orbital complex by the end of 2023. At the same time, Axiom is working on its own space station, the first module of which could be connected to the ISS as early as 2024. Axiom Space has just signed a new launch contract with SpaceX bringing to four the number of manned missions that will be launched bound for the International Space Station by 2023. These missions will be carried out by SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon. Ax-1, Axiom's first mission, announced in March 2020, has already been approved by NASA and is expected to launch to the ISS no earlier than January 2022. Eventually, Axiom wants to offer up to two private flights to the ISS per year. Each mission will carry three clients and a professional astronaut. For AX-1, the professional astronaut will be Michael López-Alegría. At 63, this former NASA employee has already spent nearly 258 days in space and 10 spacewalks. He participated in three missions with the American space shuttle and made a stay in the ISS. If Axiom Space did not reveal the names of the first three passengers, in addition to an Israeli millionaire, we quote actor Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman. Founded in 2016, this start-up presents itself as a full service provider for orbital missions intended for private astronauts, tourists but also researchers who could board the ISS to carry out their own experiment or actors for make scenes from a movie! Its offer includes training, transportation and mission planning. A commercial station in developmentAxiom Space is becoming a major player in the marketing and use of the orbital complex. This privatization of the ISS is encouraged by NASA. The purpose of age nce and its partners is to develop a real economy in low orbit around the ISS, relying on New Space companies and start-ups, including SpaceX and Axiom Space in particular. Axiom Space has also raised more than $130 million to develop a space station that will first be attached to the ISS before becoming independent. The modules for this commercial station will be produced by Thales Alenia Space, with a first launch in 2024. The first two elements to be launched are the Node 1 junction node (AxN1) and the habitation module (AxH). Axiom Space's goal is to make its station autonomous and separate it from the ISS within ten years. Interested in what you just read?