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Exploring the future with commercial space stations, at SXSW2022

The #SXSW Space Track launched today, and the Fox Agency crew was more than ready for take-off.

First-up, a fascinating 1hr panel discussion exploring the opportunities presented by the forthcoming privatisation of low earth orbit and planned Commercial Space Stations.

With the International Space Station (ISS) being decommissioned in 2023, the expert panel, comprising Anjali Gupta of Axiom Space, NicoleWagner of Lambdavision, Ariel Ekblaw of MIT, and private astronaut, John Shoffner, discussed the huge opportunities presented by the first commercial space station going live in 2024.

For Lambdavision, manufacturers of protein-based artificial retina implants, Nicole Wagner explained the huge potential for research through commercial space stations.

Having already redefined its manufacturing and testing processes on ISS, the imminent launch of commercial space stations, such as that planned by Axion Space, will only further accelerate the research and testing processes which use microgravity.

Nicole shared her excitement for the increased accessibility of space travel driven by commercialisation of low earth orbit by companies such as Axiom Space.

Ariel Ekblaw of MIT shared an exciting vision for the future of space exploration and the opportunities presented by commercial space stations.

Ariel leads a team of researchers tasked with seeking solutions to the varied challenges presented by space exploration. She explained how commercial space stations will allow the increased duration of microgravity compared with the existing ISS possibilities – this will allow for real-time testing of theories and new technologies, before deploying at scale.

Further future-focused discussion looked at what the next 50 years (and beyond) may hold – with Ariel sharing hopes for signs of life to be discovered, either on Mars or Europa, within the next 50 years.

Finally, legendary racing-driver-come-private astronaut, John Shoffner shared his lifelong obsession with space travel and how, through NASA training, he is living his childhood dream as he prepares to visit the new Axion Space Station in 2024.

John is both creating opportunity for companies and organisations, such as Lambdavision and MIT, to accelerate testing in microgravity environments, whilst also increasing accessibility for space exploration, forging a path for everyday people to follow.

The pace of technological advancement is only increasing – whatever the future of space exploration holds, it seems clear that commercial space stations will be at the centre of this new tomorrow.