Discovery has ordered a new reality show, to air in 2022, which will be an eight-episode competition series where competitors will vie for a chance to take a trip to the International Space Station on a commercial Axiom Space mission. The winner will be a crew member for AX-2, the second mission from Axiom to transport a fully private group of space travelers to the ISS following AX-1, which is set to take place as early as next January.
Axiom and NASA went into detail about AX-1 earlier this month in a press briefing, explaining that the mission will span eight days and take four paying customers to the orbital science station for a brief stay, with an overall price tag of $1.69 million being paid to NASA for the privilege (which excludes the value of some in-kind supply transport services that Axiom is providing).
Axiom will be using a SpaceX Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft to transport its private astronaut customers to the ISS for AX-1. The initial press materials for the “Who Wants to Be an Astronaut?” series doesn’t specify which vehicle will be used for the AX-2 mission that will play host to the winner, but it’s reasonable to expect it’ll be SpaceX for that one as well, given that it’s the only fully private trip provider active so far.
Here’s how Discovery describes the actual selection process that will take place during the reality series:
[W]hat does it take to win a coveted seat to space? The process will be grueling and only a select few will make it through the rigorous selection process. The series will follow each of the contestants competing for the opportunity in a variety of extreme challenges designed to test them on the attributes real astronauts need most, and as they undergo the training necessary to qualify for space flight and life on board the space station.
In the end, one lucky candidate, deemed to have the right stuff by a panel of expert judges, will punch their ticket for an adventure few have ever taken. The series will chronicle each pivotal moment along the way – from lift off to re-entry and the return home.
The competition is open to “everyday people,” and there’s an application form with the requirement of a short, 30 to 60-second accompanying video if you want to throw your hat in the ring.