UK Space Agency and Axiom partner to launch UK astronauts into space

In a historic moment for the United Kingdom’s space sector, the UK Space Agency has announced a partnership with Axiom Space to send UK astronauts into the final frontier.

The collaboration will see the two organisations work together to send UK astronauts to space in the first commercially sponsored mission.

This development bears significance for the UK’s space industry as it looks to stamp its flag in the global space economy and will build on the progress made by the government’s National Space Strategy and the UK Science and Technology Framework.

George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “The prospect of a historic UK mission with Axiom Space has the potential to inspire a whole new generation to reach for the stars while supporting our efforts to build one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world, so I look forward to seeing the next stage of this exploratory work develop.

“We want to put the UK at the forefront of the global race for commercial space investment, continue to support scientists and engineers to test new technologies and carry out important research and, ultimately, bring the benefits back to people and businesses across the country.”

Axiom Space CRO Tejpaul Bhatia (left) and UK Space Agency CEO Paul Bate (right) shaking hands after signing the agreement between Axiom Space and the UK Space Agency.

Who are Axiom Space?

Based in Houston, US, Axiom Space is the only full-service orbital mission provider in the space industry, providing end-to-end crewed missions to the International Space Station.

Axiom enables nations and organisations to design human spaceflight and astronaut selection programmes and will be pivotal as the UK embarks on this landmark space endeavour.

What will the UK astronauts be doing in space?

On this mission, UK astronauts will be launched into space and will spend up to two weeks in orbit, carrying out scientific research, testing novel technologies, and performing education and outreach activities.

Michael Suffredini, Axiom Space CEO, added: “Axiom Space is looking forward to working with the UK Space Agency on a future human spaceflight mission.

“With this agreement as the initial foundation, we will build a comprehensive mission plan in support of the UK’s national and agency objectives to advance its capabilities in space exploration and discovery.

“Together, we will look to harness the benefits of microgravity and help push the boundaries of innovation to advance our civilisation.”

UK Space Agency calls on universities and industry for research projects

The UK Space Agency has published a Request for Information to UK universities, research institutions and industry to share their ideas for experiments and technology demonstrators that could be performed by the UK astronauts during the mission.

They are also calling on ideas from UK organisations for a national space education and public engagement programme.

The aim of this is to promote the diverse range of careers in the space industry, drive STEM uptake, and highlight the essential role of space for the UK.

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