Marking a significant milestone for Hungary’s space endeavours, a contract was signed with US aerospace company Axiom Space, marking Hungary’s return to space exploration after many decades. The announcement was made by Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó during his visit to Austin, Texas after he and Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini signed the contract.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade revealed that minister Szijjártó’s visit aimed to finalize the contract with Axiom Space, a company closely collaborating with NASA, the United States’ space agency.
This partnership solidifies Hungary’s plans to send its second astronaut on a mission to space,
with an expected launch window between the end of 2024 and the beginning of 2025.
The minister highlighted that Hungary’s government recently approved a space industry strategy that includes sending a researcher to the International Space Station (ISS) for a duration of thirty days. During this period, the Hungarian astronaut will test various tools and conduct scientific experiments, contributing significantly to the development of high-value, high-tech industries in Hungary, particularly in fields such as health sciences and other modern industry-related sectors. Furthermore, Szijjártó announced that Hungarian space industry entities and universities would actively participate in defining the tasks and experiments to be carried out during the astronaut’s stay on the ISS.
This ambitious space expedition will involve the Hungarian astronaut as part of a four-member international team, representing a collaborative effort between Hungary and its international partners. As per the contract with Axiom Space, the launch window is scheduled from October 2024 to the beginning of 2025. However, the precise timing of the mission within this window will depend on the detailed schedule of spaceflights between NASA and the ISS. It will also be influenced by the training of the three other non-Hungarian astronauts participating in the expedition.
In closing, Minister Szijjártó emphasized that there are currently four Hungarian astronaut candidates in competition for this historic mission.
They are set to begin their training and on-site testing in Austin and Houston in October of this year.
The final selection for the second Hungarian astronaut will be made shortly before the scheduled spaceflight, marking a significant step forward in Hungary’s space exploration endeavours and contributing to the country’s growing presence in the global space community.
Axiom Space is a privately funded American firm based in Houston, Texas, specializing in space infrastructure development. Established in 2016 by Michael T. Suffredini and Kam Ghaffarian, the company achieved its inaugural spaceflight in 2022 with Axiom Mission 1, marking the first-ever privately funded crewed mission to the ISS. Axiom Space has set its sights on owning and operating the world’s premier commercial space station by the year 2025. Notable figures among the company’s workforce include former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria and Brent W. Jett Jr.
In 2022, Axiom Space successfully launched its first group of commercial astronauts into orbit, and it has outlined plans to facilitate human spaceflight missions for both government-funded and commercial astronauts engaged in activities such as in-space research, in-space manufacturing, and space exploration.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/KKM/MTI