NASA is building and executing a targeted strategy for a vibrant low Earth orbit economy that is sustainable, cost-effective, and safe. The current strategy builds on and applies the lessons learned from over a decade of work and experience with commercial companies.
In 2019, NASA kicked off a strategy to enable a vibrant low Earth orbit economy which included offering flight opportunities for commercial providers to utilize the International Space Station (ISS) as a destination for private astronaut missions.
Axiom Space private astronaut and Axiom Mission-2 Commander Peggy Whitson enters the International Space Station shortly after the hatches were opened between the orbital outpost and the SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft. Welcoming her inside the vestibule between the station’s Harmony module and Dragon is NASA astronaut and Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio.
Axiom Space private astronaut and Axiom Mission-2 Commander Peggy Whitson enters the International Space Station shortly after the hatches were opened between the orbital outpost and the SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft. NASA
Commercial Use of the International Space Station
NASA is laying the foundation for America to maintain a human presence in low Earth orbit in which one day NASA will become one of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace.
NASA’s In Space Production Applications portfolio will leverage more than two decades of results from the International Space Station by continuing to demonstrate the benefits of microgravity for the development of new commercial technologies and products that have the potential to strengthen national security and improve the quality of life on Earth for people everywhere.
View of a CFE-2 (Capillary Flow Experiment – 2) Interior Corner Flow – 8 (ICF-8) vessel set up during a test run. Liquids behave differently in space than they do on Earth, so containers that can process, hold or transport them must be designed carefully to work in microgravity.
The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour crew ship is pictured. Endeavour carried four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts to the International Space Station for several days of research, education, and commercial activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to frequently asked questions about the Low Earth Orbit Economy.
Useful reference information about the Low Earth Orbit Economy.