Space

Newly-opened facility at Ellington Airport is the next step toward commercialized space flights, officials say

The Axiom Space facility will be used to create new space suits for Artemis astronauts and build a new hub for research 250 miles above Earth.

Axiom space facility
Patricia Ortiz/Houston Public Media
A new facility for Axiom Space Facility opened on December 7, 2023.

A brand new facility opened at Ellington Airport this Thursday and is the next step toward commercialized space flights.

Axiom Space will use the Spaceport facility as a headquarters for its efforts to develop the next-generation space station. Houston Airport's Aviation Director, Mario Diaz, said Axiom Station will eventually be a central hub for research, manufacturing, and commerce 250 miles above Earth.

"And it will become a place for space tourism, training of astronauts, things like experiments in outer space," he said.

The CEO of Axiom Space, Mike Suffredini, said the first module for astronauts to live in will be completed by 2026, and some parts are already being built. He said while Houston is a hub for space engineering, this is the first time a spaceship will be manufactured in the city.

"And so now, all of that happens here in Houston. And I can't tell you how big of an energizer that is for the operators and the engineers and the astronauts to be able to just walk on over here and see their spacecraft," Suffredini said.

Axiom Space will also be working on new space suits for Artemis astronauts at the new facility. The new spacesuit will provide astronauts more advanced capabilities to be able to live and work on and around the moon.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said the new facility will keep the city at the forefront of space exploration, and help economic development.

"By making sure that we have economic development that is real, tangible in terms of jobs, and the economic multiplier for our region," he said. "That's happening here. And with respect to the future of space exploration, all of those things are happening here."

Mario Diaz said that eventually, regular people would be able to travel to space and Axiom Space could help ferry paid customers to the new space station in Earth's low orbit.

"By the way, I asked if there are going to be coupons available for flights. I'm told maybe in 2026, 2027. Black Friday, put it in your calendars," Diaz said. "… Just be aware it's millions of dollars to start."