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ESA and Axiom Space forge partnership for future space exploration

The European Space Agency ESA and Axiom Space signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 1 October in Paris to explore collaborative opportunities in human spaceflight, science, technology, and commercialisation.

Key areas addressed in the Memorandum of Understanding include:

Broadened collaboration: 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.

Astronaut missions: 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.

Innovation in spacesuits: European companies will find collaboration opportunities around the development of the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuits to participate in various stages including training, operation, and maintenance.

Research and development: Both partners seek to further research projects on upcoming missions, leveraging European advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, health, and life sciences.

Access to Axiom Station: 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, encouraging ongoing human spaceflight opportunities, research, commercial business development including future European cargo and crew service providers, and more.

The Memorandum of Understanding enters immediately into effect and will span an initial period of three years, with options for extension based on mutual agreement. Both organisations anticipate that this partnership will not only propel advancements in space exploration and discovery, but also foster a spirit of international cooperation and innovation within the global space community.

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