NASA has started its search for additional U.S. companies that are willing to transport private astronauts to the International Space Station on two separate short-duration missions slated to occur in the 2022-2023 timeframe.
These two new flight opportunities for the private sector came one month after NASA and Axiom Space signed an agreement to conduct the first private astronaut transportation effort to the orbiting laboratory early next year in a push to expand the market in low-Earth orbit, the agency said Friday.
NASA expects the second mission to launch between the fall of 2022 and mid-2023 and the succeeding mission in the second half of 2023.
Interested parties will have the chance to ask their questions about the program at a pre-proposer’s conference scheduled for June 22 and they can submit proposals through July 9.
“This year is truly a renaissance for human spaceflight both as we fly NASA and international partner astronauts on U.S. commercial crew spacecraft to the International Space Station and also as we see the expansion of private astronaut missions,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA.