Even if your childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut never panned out, there’s still a way you can travel to the International Space Station (ISS) without even having to go back to school. Axiom Space, the privately owned successor to the ISS, recently partnered with the New York travel firm, Roman & Erica, Inc., to send the first commercial travelers into orbit 250 miles above Earth on the space station for 10 days starting in 2020.
Run by Mike Suffredini, the former director of NASA’s ISS program, Axiom will start flying guests to the ISS in 2020. In 2022, Axiom will launch its first two NASA-grade modules to the ISS and the commercial missions will take place there, in addition to expanding the ISS’s research capabilities. Eventually, Axiom Station will completely replace the ISS when it is scheduled to be retired in 2025.
Prices for a 10-day stay on the space station will start at $55 million per person and will include 15 weeks of training camp, round-trip transportation to the station on a SpaceX rocket, as well as the time in orbit. Each guest will train alongside career astronauts in a 15-week program spread out over two years to acccomodate travelers’ schedules. The program will involve three phases, including basics like safety training and how to adapt to weightlessness and using the bathroom in space. Further training phases cover how to operate systems on board Axiom and the ISS, plus launch and landing procedures (but don’t worry, the crew will handle the piloting).
During the 10-day trip, guests will stay in habitation modules designed by the French designer Philippe Starck with 24-inch windows to observe Earth from orbit, plus internet and video conferencing capability to contact people down below from space. “Our clients will be the travel pioneers of this generation. Space travel in 100 years may become the new normal but for now, this unexplored terrain holds infinite possibilities for the consumer to experience,” Roman Chiporukha, cofounder of Roman & Erica, Inc., said in a statement.
Axiom isn’t the only company that is currently planning on sending civilian tourists into low Earth orbit. Back in April, the space technology startup Orion Span announced plans to launch the Aurora Station in 2021 and welcome its first guests by 2022.
Axiom Station is now accepting reservations for its first mission in 2020 through Roman & Erica, Inc.