Saber Astronautics recently signed a deal with private spaceflight leader Axiom Space, Inc. to create an Australian presence on the International Space Station (ISS) and future Axiom Station. Saber Astronautics will develop the first formal program to enable Australians and Australian industry to, via Axiom, access the Station’s orbiting microgravity laboratory and develop a new generation of space-developed products for human health, materials, electronics, cleantech, and more.
The Saber Astronautics Australian Astronaut Program aims for direct industrial involvement and flights using people selected from the Australian public opening the benefits for broader industrial use by conventional industry.
The ISS program has been a test bed for advanced scientific research since its completion in 2011, with much of the technology previously developed for space finding “spinout” advantages for the commercial sector on Earth.
NASA competitively selected Axiom to add a series of its privately developed modules to the ISS beginning in late 2024, planned to later detach and become a free-flying, next-generation station – a move widely understood to be paving the way for the commercial successor to the 20-year-old station. Axiom Space successfully launched and returned their first private astronaut mission AX-1 to ISS in April 2022 and are planning future missions beyond 2026. The unique environment, such as a lack of gravity, easy access to cooling, and a nearly 100% sterile environment is enabling a new generation of products beyond the spin-outs, with strong commercial potential. Examples include near perfect fibre optics, protein crystals for better drugs, and quantum computing. The clean vacuum of outer space can make thinner, purer materials like semiconductors and ultra-pure metals.
The deal with Axiom builds on Saber Astronautics’ growing leadership in space operations. Saber currently owns and operates the Responsive Space Operations Centre (RSOC) based in Adelaide and Colorado. The Adelaide RSOC received $6M funding from the Australian Space Agency’s Space Infrastructure Fund last year. Supporting astronauts is a long-term goal of Saber’s RSOC program accelerated by the agreement with Axiom.
Saber Astronautics aims to encourage excellence and community involvement, enhance innovation, together with the promotion of Australia’s Space Sector and the empowerment of the space ecosystem.
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