Saudi Arabia to send two astronauts to ISS via Elon Musk's SpaceX craft

Asian Tech Press (Sep 21) -- Saudi Arabia will send two astronauts to the International Space Station via billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX spacecraft.

Saudi Arabia plans to send two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft by buying two seats on the craft, people familiar with the matter said.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia signed a private agreement with Houston-based Axiom Space Inc., a company that arranges private space missions to the ISS primarily for researchers and tourists.

Under the agreement, two Saudi astronauts will travel to the ISS in SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft as early as 2023 and stay in outer space for about a week.

The sources said that along with the Saudi astronauts to the ISS are two Americans, retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and racing driver and investor John Shoffner.

The spaceflight, called Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2), will be the second crewed space mission by Axiom Space.

It is unclear how much the deal between Saudi Arabia and Axiom Space would cost. On the U.S. space infrastructure developer's first crewed space mission, each seat on the Dragon spacecraft went for $55 million.

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