A Franco-German startup to service a private orbital station
A Franco-German startup to service a private orbital station
© P.-F. Mouriaux / Air & Cosmos

| At Bercy, Pierre-François Mouriaux | Source : Air&Cosmos 368 mots

A Franco-German startup to service a private orbital station

A symbolic contract was signed on October 9 in Paris between Texas-based Axiom Space and Franco-German start-up The Exploration Company.

Distinguished guests

On October 9, the official signing of a contract between Texas-based Axiom Space and Franco-German startup The Exploration Company, represented respectively by Christian Maender, Executive Vice President Space Solutions, and Hélène Huby, Co-Founder and President, took place in Paris at the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty.

Bruno Le Maire, the inviting minister, was in attendance (before flying off to the Franco-German government seminar in Hamburg), along with a rather impressive areopagus of political figures (German and French), representatives from Cnes and the European Space Agency, and investors, both public (BPI) and private.

Including Martin Schäfer, German Minister Plenipotentiary to France  Claudie Haigneré, former astronaut and former Minister Delegate for Research and New Technologies  Christophe Castaner, former Minister of the Interior, now President of the LREM group in the National Assembly ; Caroline Laurent, director of orbital systems and applications at Cnes ; Jean-Marc Astorg, director of strategy at Cnes ; or Sandra Budimir, co-founder of Starburst Aerospace.


See you in late 2027

For the record, Axiom Space is developing an entirely private space station and, in the meantime, organizing tourist trips aboard the International Space Station, most recently last spring (mission Axiom 2, with SpaceX).

The Exploration Company, founded in 2021, is a Franco-German company working on a project for an automatic European cargo ship, dubbed Nyx.

It's a classic retrievable capsule, capable of carrying 4 tons into low-Earth orbit.

The contract signed on October 9 (which had been announced on September 12 during Word Satellite Business Week) is for a transport mission to the Axiom station in late 2027.


Waiting for Seville

The symbolic significance of the agreement is strong, demonstrating according to the French Minister of the Economy the ability of European industry to respond to the space transportation market, but also illustrating the reality of Franco-German cooperation and its success on the international stage.

The contract also comes in the run-up to the Space Summit, an informal meeting of European space ministers, to be held on November 6 and 7 in Seville, Spain.

The hope is that a common strategy for exploration, transport and sustainable development in and from space, in particular an autonomous capability for manned spaceflight, will be agreed.


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