Axiom Space has broken ground on its new 400,000 square foot headquarters on 22 acres at 13200 Space Center Blvd., Houston. At the facility, Axiom will manufacture the world’s first commercial space station and train private astronauts.
“This groundbreaking will pave the way for the world’s first commercial space station,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Dan Seal, executive director for special initiatives for the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, said at a May 11 meeting that Axiom will build space station modules at a site that will eventually be attached to the International Space Station. When the ISS is decommissioned around 2030, the Axiom modules will separate from the ISS and link together to remain in orbit as a commercial space station, Seal said.
In addition, Axiom made history with its own private astronauts in April. The first purely private astronaut mission to the ISS took off on April 8th and landed on April 25th.
Michael Suffredini, Axiom’s President and CEO, said he moved to Houston 39 years ago to work at NASA in human spaceflight and eventually become the program manager for the ISS. During his time there, Suffredini recognized that Houston has engineers designing spacecraft, astronauts going to space, and mission planners overseeing operations, but no spacecraft manufacturing, he said.
Suffrendini founded Axiom Space in 2016 to fill that void in Houston, he said.
“We don’t really do research anymore, we do pioneering work. It’s a huge deal,” Suffrendini said.
Houston doesn’t have a building big enough to build space station modules, so Axiom’s first goal for the new campus is to build the facility that will make the modules. Suffrendini said Axiom could not achieve its goals without a superior workforce, and that workforce could not do its job without an excellent facility.
“All of this is only possible with a facility like this in a place like this in Space City. This is the right place for it,” he said.
The facility will bring hundreds of jobs to Clear Lake. Suffredini said his company employs 450 people but that will increase to about 1,300 by next year.
“We expect wild growth,” he said.
Turner said the Houston metro area has one of the highest concentrations of engineers in the world, with nearly 2,000 engineers for every 100,000 workers, and that the jobs Axiom will provide will offer new opportunities.
“These high-paying jobs are the future,” he said.
The Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport in Clear Lake was officially licensed as a spaceport in June 2015. The vision is to build a cluster of aerospace companies that produce locally, and eventually use the spaceport as a launching point for passenger planes capable of flying at supersonic speeds.
Collins Aerospace and Intuitive Machines are two other aerospace companies under construction at the Houston Spaceport. Other companies are coming to the spaceport, although city leaders have not given any details.
“We are thrilled to see Axiom Space being built,” said Mario Diaz, Houston Airport Systems Director. “It will certainly be a very busy year for economic development.”
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https://abc13.com/axiom-space-broke-ground-houston-spaceport-station/11841658/ Axiom Space breaks ground on its new 400,000 square foot headquarters at the Houston Spaceport