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Artist's illustration of Axiom Space's private space station. Photo: Axiom Space

Axiom Space, a company aiming to operate the first commercial space station in orbit, is planning to fly a crew of private citizens to the International Space Station (ISS) as early as next year using SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as NASA is working to expand commercial operations on the space station. These kinds of space tourism flights are expected to be a big part of that.

Details: The flight, which could launch as early as late 2021, is expected to bring one Axiom-trained flight commander alongside three tourists to live on the station for eight days.

  • "This will be just the first of many missions to ISS to be completely crewed and managed by Axiom Space — a first for a commercial entity," Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said in a statement.
  • The company hasn't disclosed who the private individuals are or what they might do with their time onboard the station.

Between the lines: The announcement comes as SpaceX is pushing to fly its first astronauts for NASA to the ISS.

  • The Elon Musk-founded company has yet to fly its first people to orbit, but that milestone could come in the coming months as the company stages its first crewed flight for the space agency.

What's next: Axiom expects to fly up to two flights per year to the station, and the company is planning to build out its own modules on the orbiting outpost, with the first launching in 2024.

  • Eventually, Axiom plans to detach those modules and use them to build out its own space station in orbit.

Go deeper

7 mins ago - Health

A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months:

Biden's debut nightmare

President-elect Biden speaks in Wilmington on Nov. 24. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

A dim, gloomy scene seems increasingly set for Joe Biden's debut as president.

The state of play: He'll address — virtually — a virus-weary nation, with record-high daily coronavirus deaths, a flu season near its peak, restaurants and small businesses shuttered by wintertime sickness and spread.

Using apps to prevent deadly police encounters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

Why it matters: As states and cities face pressure to reform excessive force policies, apps that monitor police are becoming more interactive, gathering evidence against rogue officers as well as posting social media videos to shame the agencies.