NASA changes its rules for private astronauts

The four-man crew of Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission arrived at the International Space Station on April 9.

The four-man crew of Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission arrived at the International Space Station on April 9.
picture: Axiom Space

As more private astronauts go into space, NASA is seeking to better organize their flights into Earth’s orbit. The space agency recently announced some updates to the set of rules required for upcoming special astronaut missions, including the requirement that all future missions It is piloted by a former NASA astronaut.

NASA released existing From Monday’s updated rules, which will be documented as part of the Astronauts Special Mission, Coordination, and Execution (PACE) Permit Appendix 1. The updates are “lessons learned” from The first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, where Axiom SpaceX sent four astronauts to the International Space Station in April. Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) was led by former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, but new requirements now require All Future missions led by a former NASA astronaut. For these missions, a NASA astronaut will serve as the mission leader saving Guidance “while preparing before the flight through the implementation of the task.”

Axiom Space was planning to send future missions without a NASA astronaut And it has four paying customers instead of three, according to spaceNews. It is not yet clear how the new rules will affect the original plan to launch the private space company Special missions without NASA astronaut in command.

It was the crew of the Ax-1 mission charged with Number of research experiments on board the International Space Station, including an EEG-enabled space helmet and the first two-way Holoportation experiment to be performed in space. The crew of the Ax-1 consists of three investors and wealthy businessmen, Larry Connor, Eitan Stipe and Mark Bathy, who have never traveled to space before. After landing on Earth, the crew Individuals He confessed they were Overwhelmed by the amount of work they had to do on the International Space StationThey say they have plenty to fit their tight schedule.

The presence of the Axiom crew aboard the International Space Station has also put pressure on the current crew schedule. Susan Helms, a former NASA astronaut and a member of the Space Safety Advisory Committee, said during a team meeting in May.

The updated requirements now state that special missions must submit their research applications at least 12 months before the expected launch date in order to review the “feasibility and implementation viewpoint”. NASA will also require additional time to train astronauts in microgravity prior to launch to better adapt to the spaceflight environment. after ax 1Admittedly, the special crew had difficulty adjusting to the microgravity environment. “We just got up there and we were confused,” Lopez Allegria said at a post-mission news conference. “Getting used to zero gravity is not an overnight thing.”

The new rules also require an outreach plan for special missions in order to provide information to the public during training, pre-launch, and in-orbit activities, And back to Earth activities.

NASA and Axiom Space are preparing for the second special mission to the International Space Station. Ax 2 It will be led by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson It is slated to release sometime next spring. Whitson did a total of 10 spacewalks during her tenure as an astronaut at NASA This extravehicular experiment will be useful as the Ax-2 aims to be the first special mission to attempt a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

more: The billionaires who were sent into space weren’t expecting to work hard on the International Space Station

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