Voyager Space and Airbus strengthen their partnership on the Starlab commercial orbital station project.
A commercial successor to the ISS
The International Space Station has today entered its final phase of operation, with international agreements running until 2028-2030.
With a view to replacing the orbital complex as part of a public-private partnership, Nasa has launched various programs, the latest of which is called CLD (Commercial Low Earth-orbit Destinations).
Since December 2021, it has put no less than $415.6 M on the table to support three commercial station projects proposed by private American companies : Blue Origin's Orbital Reef ($130 M), Voyager Space's Starlab ($160 M), and an unnamed station from Northrop Grumman ($125.6 M).
The aim is to save $1.3 bn a year from 2031, and up to $1.8 bn a year after 2033.
Uniting American and European interests
Voyager Space's Starlab station, due to launch as a single unit in 2028, is designed to accommodate four people.
The goal of providing 100 % of the ISS's current payload capacity, and the ability to conduct hundreds of experiments and technical research per year.
Initially, Lockheed Martin was a partner in the project, and Airbus Defence and Space joined last January.
On August 2, Voyager Space and Airbus announced the creation of a (US-dominated) joint venture to build and operate the Starlab station: Starlab Space LLC - exit Lockheed Martin, so.
In addition to the US entity, the joint venture will have a European JV entity to directly serve the European Space Agency and the space agencies of its member states.
For more information
To find out more about the various private space station projects currently in the running, discover our feature in Air & Cosmos's summer special issue no. 2840, available on newsstands from July 27 to September 6 or in the digital version.
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