© Axiom

We may have lived in the space age since the late 1950s, but so far, all endeavours served a scientific purpose. Well, that’s about to change. A few bold initiatives have made headlines, allowing us earthlings to leisurely explore outer space, but none have given this advanced way of travel the ‘design treatment’ as Axiom Space has. The Houston-based private space company, led by former NASA manager Mike Suffredini, is currently building the planet’s first commercial space station to make space travel more broadly available.

Aptly called Axiom Space Station, it’s to become the successor to the International Space Station that has been in Low Earth Orbit for the past 17 years. The space station builds on the latter’s legacy, attaching elements to its forward node that’ll not only expand research capabilities and a larger crew complement, but also provide commercial manufacturing opportunities and ensure the continuity of research and human spaceflight capability. So, the Axiom Space Station will comprise of nodes and modules that make up the orbital configuration.

The initial configuration includes a node, a habitation module, a research and manufacturing module and a window observatory. Interestingly, Axiom Space has enlisted acclaimed Paris-based designer Philippe Starck to create the interiors of the habitation module. Each private crew berth will provide a nest-like cabin with extraordinary unobstructed views of planet Earth. Walls are lined with a padded and quilted, cream-coloured, soft fabric and hundreds of tiny LED lights that glow in varying hues depending on the time of day and where the space station is floating in relation to the earth.

As it’ll be the perfect spot to take in the world view, guests can catch up on work and share the view back home via a high-speed internet connection. The configuration includes eight crew quarters, pressurized research space equivalent to the US Lab, and unpressurized payload locations. Adding elements to this configuration allows it to evolve into a stand-alone space station. The Axiom Space Station also includes the largest window observatory ever constructed for the space environment that will completely immerse the crew with a spectacular panorama of low earth orbit.

The observatory can also serve as the dining room where crews can enjoy gourmet food with unmatched views. This exceptional outer space experience may be made available to all, but it obviously comes with a price tag only a few will be able to afford. Axiom offers aspiring astronauts a 10-day expedition to the International Space Station at a cost of USD 55 million per ticket, starting in 2020. Start saving! Location: 250 miles (402 km) in orbit above Earth.

© Axiom