Ibadan, 9 October 2o23 – The European Space Agency ESA and Axiom Space have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore collaborative opportunities in human spaceflight, science, technology, and commercialization. ESA and Axiom Space signed the MoU in Paris last week, and it addresses various key areas, including broader collaboration, astronaut missions, and spacesuit innovation.
Through the MoU, both organizations have expressed the intent to foster science and technology development, potentially collaborating on Axiom Space missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and post-ISS low-Earth orbit activities. Furthermore, Axiom Space is set to support ESA’s goals for institutional astronaut missions and may also assist with nationally sponsored missions for ESA Member States.
The first ESA-sponsored commercial astronaut mission to the ISS is with Axiom Space on Axiom Mission 3 in January 2024. ESA project astronaut Marcus Wandt of Sweden will be a mission specialist on the all-European crew of four led by Axiom Space Chief Astronaut and Commander Michael López-Alegría.
The Memorandum of Understanding opens doors for European missions to access the world’s first commercial space station, Axiom Station, by the end of the decade. This will consequently encourage ongoing human spaceflight opportunities, research, and commercial business development, in Europe. This will also include future European cargo and crew service providers.
Speaking on the MoU, the Director General of ESA, Josef Aschbacher, remarked, “Our collaboration with Axiom Space represents a step forward in Europe’s endeavours in space. The combination of Axiom Space’s innovative approach to spaceflight and ESA’s rich history and experience will create new opportunities not only for scientific and technology advancements but also for nurturing a sustainable commercial space ecosystem.”