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Universe Today

Axiom Space gets another opening for space station trip

Even though Texas-based Axiom Space hasn’t yet sent its first crew of customers to the International Space Station, NASA is giving the company an opportunity to send a second crew, potentially just months later.

NASA says it will begin negotiations with Axiom on a space station mission scheduled sometime between the autumn of 2022 and the late spring of 2023. Under a pricing policy laid out earlier this year, NASA would charge $10 million to support each private astronaut during their stay in orbit, plus extra charges for food and supplies.

It’ll cost tens of millions more for the ride to the space station and back. The three customers who have signed up for Axiom’s first space station mission in February are reportedly paying $55 million each, which includes the fare for a trip in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.

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Universe Today

Record-setting astronaut will lead private space mission

Astronaut Peggy Whitson already has her name in the history books, but now there’s a new entry to add: first woman named to head up a privately funded space mission.

Whitson was the first woman to command the International Space Station and the oldest woman to fly in space (57, in 2017). She holds the U.S. record for most cumulative time in space (665 days) as well as the world record for most spacewalks by a woman (10).

Her new claim to fame comes courtesy of Texas-based Axiom Space, which announced today that Whitson will be the commander of the company’s second orbital mission for private astronauts. The mission known as Ax-2 would follow up on Ax-1, due to visit the International Space Station as early as January.

Another spaceflier who retired from NASA, Michael Lopez-Alegria, is commanding Ax-1 — with three Axiom customers flying alongside him. Whitson is serving as the backup commander for Ax-1.

One of Whitson’s crewmates for Ax-2 will be mission pilot John Shoffner, who is an airplane pilot, a champion GT racer and a supporter of life science research who hails from Knoxville, Tenn.

Whitson and Shoffner will test techniques for single-cell genomics in zero-G on the space station, in collaboration with 10x Genomics.

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GeekWire

NASA’s Peggy Whitson hangs up her space helmet

Peggy Whitson
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is framed by one of the windows in the International Space Station’s Cupola during her 2016-2017 tour of duty. (NASA Photo)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds the U.S. record for most cumulative time in space, is retiring after 22 years in the astronaut corps and three tours of duty on the International Space Station.

Whitson, 58, became the station’s first female commander in 2007, the first woman to head the Astronaut Office in 2009, and the oldest woman to fly in space in 2016. She also holds the record for most spacewalks by a woman (10).

Her total in-space time of 665 days —  gained during space station stays in 2002, 2008 and 2016-2017 — puts her on top of the list for NASA astronauts. Only six spacefliers, all Russians, rank higher.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

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GeekWire

Peggy Whitson ends record-setting space trip

Peggy Whitson
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is helped out of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft just minutes after she and two fellow spacefliers landed in a remote area Kazakhstan. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and two other spacefliers capped off a record-setting orbital mission today with their return from the International Space Station.

The trio, also including NASA’s Jack Fischer and Russia’s Fyodor Yurchikhin, landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule, about four and a half hours after their undocking.

Fischer and Yurchikhin had been on the station since April, but Whitson was in space much longer – since last November, 288 days ago. That brought her cumulative time in space to 665 days, setting the record for NASA astronauts.

This mission also made Whitson the oldest woman to fly in space (age 57) and the most experienced woman spacewalker (with 10 orbital outings).

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