Virgin Galactic, an aerospace and space travel company, announced an agreement with Axiom Space, a U.S.-based commercial space company, to support a microgravity research and training mission. The Virgin Galactic spaceflight, tentatively scheduled for next year, will prepare an Axiom Space astronaut for an upcoming trip to orbit while conducting microgravity research to supplement the work that the astronaut will do on the International Space Station.
Virgin Galactic has a deep commitment to providing opportunities for research and scientific exploration in a suborbital space environment. Its pilot-controlled parabolic trajectory from a horizontal launch configuration can be adjusted to the specific needs of the payloads on board, making Virgin Galactic uniquely suited to fly both autonomous and human-tended experiments. The Company has flown research experiments on all previous spaceflights and is reserving 10 percent of its first 1,000 seats for science and technology research missions.
“Our spaceflight system offers a unique opportunity for research, and we’ve seen interest from a range of scientific and technology domains spanning from heliophysics to biological and physical life sciences,” said Virgin Galactic Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations Sirisha Bandla. “We are excited to work with Axiom Space as we continue to expand the ecosystem for microgravity research and build a pipeline for Virgin Galactic missions to support orbital space travel. Our commitment to research deepens our connection to planet Earth, enabling humanity to broaden our understanding of Earth and our place on it.”
Axiom Space is the commercial space industry’s only full-service orbital mission provider to the International Space Station, conducting full-service, end-to-end crewed missions for private astronauts, including both private individuals and those representing foreign governments. Axiom Space is expanding the international community of space explorers, helping to build human spaceflight programs, while building a permanent commercial space station in low-Earth orbit. Axiom Space has several partnerships with sovereign nations to expand their space capabilities including Turkey, Italy, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates.
“Our shared vision with Virgin Galactic to further enable human space exploration, increase scientific discovery and expand the international space explorer footprint makes this a great partnership,” said Axiom Space Chief Astronaut, Michael López-Alegría. “Virgin Galactic’s platform offers an incredible resource for future Axiom astronauts as they prepare for long-duration missions.”
Click here to learn about Virgin Galactic Spaceflight.
Click here to learn about Axiom Mission 2.