Axiom Space announced on February 16 that it had raised $130 million in Series B funding to construct the world’s first commercial space station.
The funding round was led by London-based venture capital firm C5 Capital and included TQS Advisors, Declaration Partners, Hemisphere Ventures, and Washington University in St. Louis.
According to an Axiom press release, the new financing will be used to grow the company’s workforce and accelerate work on the construction of the first privately developed space station.
In January 2020, NASA awarded Axiom with the right to attach its own space station module to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of an initiative interested in the commercialization of low Earth orbit.
The Axiom space station module is expected to attach to the station’s Harmony module. It will provide a number of commercial services including acting as a destination for private astronaut flights to low Earth orbit.
In January 2021, Axiom announced the members of a private astronaut crew that would fly to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. At the time, it was expected to be the first mission to the station made up of entirely private crew members. However, SpaceX has since announced a private astronaut crew of its own that will launch later this year several months ahead of the Axiom Mission 1 crew.
Following initial missions to the ISS, Axiom expects to launch its privately-developed space station module around 2024. It will continue to expand the Axiom segment of the station until the ISS is retired, which is expected to happen no earlier than 2030.
Once the ISS is retired, the Axiom segment of the station will separate and become the world’s first privately-developed space station.
In addition to serving as a destination for private astronaut missions, Axiom plans to utilize its space station technology to offer a broad range of commercial activities in low Earth orbit.
“The Axiom Station will be the infrastructure upon which we will build an unlimited number of new businesses in space, and it will serve as a key element of future exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” said C5 Capital operating partner Rob Meyerson
According to Morgan Stanley and Bank of America analysts, the space economy that could be built upon the Axiom framework will be valued at more than $1 trillion over the next few decades.