The space city of Texas took another step into the future on Tuesday when Axiom Space, which aims to develop the first private space station, chose Houston as its home.
Elon Musk called South Texas “the gateway to Mars” earlier this month because of its support for its SpaceX operations, but now Houston will be home to a 14-acre facility where Axiom plans to build components for his station according to Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“We’re going to take off in the city of Houston,” Turner said Tuesday at a press conference.
The Ellington Airport Spaceport will house the new facility.
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Axiom was co-founded by two veterans in the field – President and CEO Michael Suffredini, who spent a decade managing the International Space Station program, and Dr. Kam Ghaffarian, president of the company, who went on to become one of NASA’s top engineering contractors.
“I can’t think of a better way to close this unprecedented year for all of us than to be here to talk about the future of space and have it start here in Houston,” Suffredini said at the conference. Press.
“Axiom Space was founded with the vision of a thriving house in space that benefits all humans everywhere. We often hear that this is a very bold statement… in fact, ”added Suffredini,“ we think the next great human achievement will be in space. ”
Axiom plans to put its private space station into orbit 250 miles above Earth, equip it for public and private researchers, and train its own astronauts on the ground. The station itself will be made up of laboratory and residential units manufactured in the field in Houston.
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The project could add more than 1,000 well-paying jobs to the local economy, Turner said.
Axiom and Houston officials are still working on the terms of the deal, the Houston Chronical reported. Construction is expected to start next year and the new facility will become operational in 2023.