What is the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) and Its Primary Objectives?
Axiom is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that strives to shape and influence the future of space exploration policy. Ax-1 will work towards three goals:
- Ensure the United States remains a leader in civil space exploration.
- Expand international cooperation in the development of new frontiers.
- Promote understanding of, and interest in, space among young people.
The Axiom Initiative was created in 2009 due to the merger between Space Adventures and the National Space Society (NSS). After a three-year development period, Axiom has become an established 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a board of advisors from industry, government, and academia. The organization is headquartered in Washington DC and is led by one executive director with a team of four staff members.
The primary goal of the Axiom Initiative is to identify educational, promotional, and cultural opportunities that promote space exploration. This includes finding new and inventive ways to engage the public interest in space exploration, supporting the development of programs that encourage young people to study science and math, and promoting awareness of aerospace technology in the media. The initiative also seeks to ensure United States leadership in space exploration by coordinating with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other national space advocacy groups.
Axiom works with the United States Department of the Interior and its Office of Science Education to ensure this mission is accomplished. The society's Exobiology Education Center at the NASA Ames Research Center provides an opportunity for young people to interact with experts in science and engineering while helping teachers learn how to integrate space exploration into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum. Through these activities, Axiom fosters interest in space exploration among young people.
The organization hosts several programs that help to educate the general public about space exploration and support the private sector. The annual Space Exploration Summit features speakers from government, academia, and private industry discussing topics and challenges in space exploration. The number of participants has grown from 50 in 2009 to more than 500 in 2021. Axiom also provides outreach materials for teachers and sponsors events for school groups. In addition, Axiom works to expand international cooperation in space exploration through an exchange program with the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics. The program has introduced more than 100 Russians and Americans to the space industry.
Another primary objective is to expand international cooperation in developing new frontiers. The Department of Energy's Science Advisory Board and the National Academy of Sciences have worked with Axiom to develop a national space policy. The partnership has resulted in the United States and Russia committing to cooperate in low-earth orbit missions and commercial activities in the cislunar region.
Axiom is also working to encourage international cooperation during space exploration missions. The organization helped establish the International Space School Association, which promotes public interest in space exploration among young people by hosting its annual Space Exploration Summit.
In addition, another key goal is to promote understanding of, and interest in, space among young people. The Space Generation Advisory Council helps to achieve this goal. The organization comprises young leaders from industry, government, and academia. Together, they work to identify ways in which space exploration can be integrated into K-12 and higher education curricula.
Axiom also partners with government agencies and other non-profit organizations to accomplish its objectives within the space advocacy community.
The 10-1 Initiative, a collaboration between Axiom and the United States Department of Education, promotes interest in space exploration among young people and expands their educational opportunities by creating and implementing a national public outreach campaign. The program's goals include strengthening scientific literacy among students; increasing public awareness of space research; increasing the number of students taking STEM courses and exams; providing assistance on how to integrate into K-12 educational curriculum topics related to space exploration; and improving student's skills for tasks associated with space research.
The Space Generation Advisory Council (GAC), a partnership between Axiom and the Aerospace Industries Association, was created to increase public interest in space exploration among young people and expand their educational opportunities by creating and implementing a national public outreach campaign. The program's goals include strengthening scientific literacy among students; increasing public awareness of space research opportunities; increasing the number of students taking STEM courses and exams; providing assistance on how to integrate into K-12 educational curriculum topics related to space exploration; and improving student's skills for tasks associated with space research.
The space advocacy community has largely been characterized by competition between organizations and a lack of cooperation. The goal of the National Space Society was to unite national space advocacy organizations, encourage cooperation, and maintain the United States' leadership in space exploration by bringing all related organizations into a single coalition. With this end in mind, business tycoon Charles Simonyi approached other space advocacy groups with a proposal to join forces and form a new organization that could offer members from each group additional services, funding, and support.
The founding members of The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE) included the National Space Society, Axiom Initiative, Space Frontier Foundation, and Space Studies Institute. The Coalition's mission is "to promote awareness of and interest in space among young people and educate the general public in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics."
While Axiom has succeeded in its goal to unify and promote the space community, other organizations such as the Faulkes Foundation and the Space Frontier Foundation have grown over time. Additionally, several influential individuals within the space advocacy community (such as former NASA administrator Michael Griffin) lead their organizations. These individuals contribute to various areas, including education, science policy, innovation, and technology development. While cooperation is encouraged within the space advocacy community, competition between groups remains strong.