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Ax-3: A Step Forward in Long-Duration Space Missions with Advanced Tech Experiments
As humanity gears up for more ambitious space endeavors, the technologies and insights gained from missions such as Ax-3 will be instrumental in ensuring the safety and success of future long-duration spaceflights.
Ax-3: A Step Forward in Long-Duration Space Missions with Advanced Tech Experiments
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 12, 2024

Axiom Space, a key player in the burgeoning field of private space exploration, is set to launch its third private astronaut mission, Ax-3, to the International Space Station (ISS). Scheduled for liftoff no earlier than Wednesday, January 17, at 5:11 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, this mission is poised to embark on a groundbreaking journey aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The mission's primary objective is to test technologies vital for future long-duration spaceflight, marking a significant leap in private utilization of the orbital laboratory and propelling technological advancements for humanity's benefit.

The Ax-3 crew boasts an all-European lineup, including Axiom Space's chief astronaut and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria serving as the commander. He is joined by Walter Villadei of Italy (pilot), Alper Gezeravci of Turkiye (mission specialist), and ESA project astronaut Marcus Wandt of Sweden (mission specialist). Over their two-week sojourn in space, these astronauts will conduct over 30 experiments, focusing on testing materials and technologies designed to shield space travelers from radiation and other harsh space conditions.

One of the mission's key technological investigations involves a collaboration with Italian race car company Dallara. This project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of various advanced materials in countering radiation during spaceflight.

Given the acute radiation in space that can deteriorate solid materials, compromising satellite and spacecraft functionality, these radiation-shielding textiles could find applications in future space stations, spacecraft, and even spacesuits.

Another novel aspect of the Ax-3 mission is the testing of the Smart Flight Suit 2, developed through a collaboration between the Italian government and the commercial industry. This suit, certified by NASA, is designed to collect crucial medical data from astronauts, including temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Balancing comfort with functionality, the suit is crafted from next-generation fabrics, offering breathability while adhering to NASA's stringent spaceflight safety requirements.

Furthermore, the Ax-3 crew will work on an investigation from the Italian Space Agency, which involves testing a software upgrade for the Anomalous Long-Term Effects in Astronauts (ALTEA) radiation detector currently onboard the ISS.

The mission will also see the reorientation of the Light Ion Detector (LIDAL) hardware within ALTEA, enhancing the understanding of the radiation environment on the orbiting laboratory. LIDAL's integration into ALTEA transforms it into a real-time radiation "risk meter," a first for a space habitat. This system's potential extends beyond the ISS, as it could prove invaluable on future exploratory missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Related Links
International Space Station National Laboratory
Axiom Mission 3
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