Elon Musk-owned SpaceX would provide two seats for Saudi Arabian astronauts in its Crew Dragon space capsule bound for the International Space Station, Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the arrangement.
These astronauts will reportedly be on a two-week mission early next year and will have the privilege of being the first from Saudi Arabia to go into space in a private spacecraft.
The deal was signed earlier this year between Saudi Arabia and Houston’s Axiom Space, which arranges private space missions for researchers and tourists on U.S. spacecraft, the report said. This mission, named Ax-2, would mark the second spaceflight arranged by Axiom.
The Saudis will have two American co-passengers: retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and race driver and investor John Shoffner, as per Reuters.
The private astronauts are yet to be vetted by a NASA-chaired panel of ISS’ participating stakeholders and countries, the report noted. Each Crew Dragon seat on Axiom’s first mission, Ax-1, was reportedly sold for $55 million.