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A new era of space science takes flight thanks to private civilian missions

The Axiom Ax-1 crew trains for their upcoming flight to the International Space Station. Photo: Axiom Space
The Axiom Ax-1 crew trains for their upcoming flight to the International Space Station. Photo: Axiom Space

SpaceX is set to launch another crew of private astronauts from Kennedy Space Center -- this time on a ten-day mission to the International Space Station.

A former NASA astronaut will command the mission, chartered by private company Axiom, and will fly to space with three other space tourists -- an American, Canadian and Israli.

Each of those seats for the space tourist crew cost tens of millions of dollars each -- and despite the out of pocket cost, those crewmembers will still have to work in space.

Researchers are taking advantage of the increased access to space -- and human subjects -- thanks to these private space missions. The crew have worked with various researchers and organizations before their flight and plan to conduct science while on board.

Understanding how the human body is affected by space travel is difficult to understand -- so few people have actually gone to space, and those in orbit have packed schedules.

That’s why organizations like the Translational Research Institute for Space Health, or TRISH, based out of Baylor College of Medicine, are jumping on the chance to conduct human research on private space participants.

We’ll speak with Dr. Jenn Fogarty, TRISH’s Chief Scientific Officer, about this new dawn of space research and how these studies might help get astronauts to places like Mars while also helping us stay healthy down here on Earth.

More to the story: 

  • TRISH worked with the Inspiration4 crew for human space science research last year. Read more about those experiments and listen back to a previous episode with researcher Dr. Emmanuel Urquieta.
Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."