On Dec. 22, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a planned partnership between Houston and Axiom, a company that plans to build the first commercial space station.
Under the agreement, which will go before Houston City Council in a few weeks, Axiom would build a 386,000-square-foot facility on a 14-acre plot of land in the Phase 1 area of the Houston Spaceport at the Ellington Airport. Contractors recently completed building roads, communication systems and other infrastructure in the 153-acre footprint of Phase 1, which will allow companies such as Axiom to build in the spaceport, Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz said.
At the facility, Axiom would build the world’s first commercial space station module that would launch in late 2024 and hook into the International Space Station. Axiom would then create and launch three additional space station modules, Axiom President and CEO Mike Suffredini said.
When the ISS is eventually retired, Axiom’s modules would disengage from the ISS and operate independently in space, he said.
“It starts here in Houston,” Suffredini said.
Diaz said Houston officials are excited by the partnership and what it means for the future of the Houston Spaceport and the local aerospace industry. Already the spaceport is home to Intuitive Machines, a company that is creating a lunar lander that could launch as early as late 2021 to deliver payloads to the moon before humans arrive, Diaz said.
“The Houston Spaceport is already at the heart of America’s effort to explore space,” he said.
Eventually, people will be able to look up and know a space station orbiting the Earth was developed in Houston by Houston workers, Turner said.
“All I want for Christmas is Axiom space station here in Houston, and that wish has come true,” he said.