- Saudi Arabia has purchased two seats aboard a SpaceX capsule, according to Reuters.
- The country purchased the seats from Axiom Space as part of its plan to send Saudi astronauts to the ISS.
- The astronauts will be the first from the country to travel to space with a private company.
Saudi Arabia has bought two seats aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule from Axiom Space, sources familiar with the deal said. Reuters.
The purchase is part of plans to send two Saudi astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), three anonymous sources confirmed to the news agency.
Sources also said the deal with Houston-based Axiom Space, a private company, was signed earlier this year.
Axiom Space did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment outside normal business hours.
The two seats are in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which will travel to the ISS, where the Saudi astronauts are expected to stay for about a week, according to Reuters.
The astronauts will be the first from the country to travel to space with a private company. According to Reuters sources, the mission will be the second space flight organized by Axiom.
Axiom conducts missions to and from the ISS and is also developing the first commercial destinations in space, Axiom Station, according to its website. The agency launched the first private astronaut mission to the ISS in April. The four-member civilian crew also traveled aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship, per NASA.
Private space companies like Axiom are violating a unique diplomatic position between the United States and other countries, which has traditionally been controlled by NASA, Reuters reported.
Earlier this month, Axiom announcement It has signed an agreement with the Turkish government to send the first Turkish astronaut into space.
Russian astronauts were also set to fly to the ISS with SpaceX under a new NASA contract with the Russian space agency. Reuters Report
SpaceX and the Saudi Space Commission did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment outside normal business hours.