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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 covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to attend the University of Central Florida. He began working at WMFE as a college intern where he discovered his love for public radio.