Voyager Space and Airbus deepen tie-up on new space station | Tech News

Voyager Space and Airbus deepen tie-up on new space station

The two companies announced plans in January for Airbus to provide design support for Voyager's Starlab, one of three projects pre-selected by NASA to draw up plans for a potential commercial successor to the ISS.

By:REUTERS
| Updated on: Aug 03 2023, 09:49 IST
5 spectacular space events in August; Chandrayaan-3, Perseids meteor shower, more
International Space Station
1/5 Perhaps, the biggest event of the month will be the lunar landing of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. After the tragic crash of Chandrayaan-2 rover, this time the hope of the nation is with the new and improved spacecraft that is expected to enter its landing phase on August 23-24. If the landing goes well, Chandrayaan-3 rover will become the first human mission to successfully land on the south pole of the Moon. (AP)
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2/5 Between August 12 and 13, it is expected that the Perseids meteor shower, one of the most popular annual meteor showers, will peak. Perseids meteor shower originates from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The meteors are known as the Perseids because the point from which they appear to hail is in the constellation Perseus. It is known as the best-known meteor shower and among the most reliable in performance. (Unsplash)
International Space Station
3/5 On August 11, Russia can launch the Luna-25 mission that will enter the race with Chandrayaan-3 to the south pole of the Moon. The Luna-25 mission comes 37 years after the Luna-24 mission that sent a robotic rover to collect samples from the Moon.  (NASA Website)
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4/5 On August 26, Japan is expected to launch its X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM), which is a space observatory that will use X-ray spectroscopy to study the plasma in space. (Representative Photo) (NASA)
International Space Station
5/5 The rarest space event will occur at the end of the month on August 30, when we will get to see the Blue Moon. While the Moon itself will not turn blue in color, the name has a specific definition. NASA defines Blue Moon as the second full moon that occurs in a single month. While that in itself is not rare, a Blue Moon coinciding with the super moon (Sturgeon Moon) is quite special. In fact, it has not happened since 2009 and the next time it happens will be in 2032, as per the website Time and Date. (AFP)
International Space Station
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Voyager Space and Airbus have said Starlab would deploy in 2028 and could be a potential commercial successor to the International Space Station. (AP)

U.S. space venture company Voyager Space and Airbus said on Wednesday they will co-operate more closely in the race to build a private version of the International Space Station.

The two companies announced plans in January for Airbus to provide design support for Voyager's Starlab, one of three projects pre-selected by NASA to draw up plans for a potential commercial successor to the ISS.

On Wednesday, they said Airbus would become a core partner in a newly planned venture to develop, build, and operate the orbital research post, expanding Europe's role in the project.

The size of the shareholdings and financial details were not disclosed. Voyager Space also declined to discuss funding plans.

Starlab is one of three private concepts designed to replace the aging ISS, a football field-sized orbital laboratory that has continuously housed crews for more than 22 years.

The original blueprint for Starlab included an inflatable habitat designed by Lockheed Martin.

But following a decision to switch to a metallic structure, Lockheed's role has effectively been superseded by Airbus, which built the Columbus module for the ISS.

"Lockheed will likely still have a role to play somewhere within the supply chain," Dylan Taylor, CEO of Voyager Space told reporters. Lockheed remains an important customer for Voyager and Starlab will remain U.S.-led, he added.

"There will be contributions coming from Europe, but there will definitely be an assembly and large contributions coming from the U.S."

Voyager, through its subsidiary Nanoracks, won $160 million from NASA in 2021 to support Starlab development under the agency's Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development programme.

Axiom Space and a team led by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin are developing rival stations under the programme.

NASA has planned to retire the ISS in 2030 and rely on private companies to host its scientific research in low-Earth orbit, but agency officials have acknowledged it may need to extend the lifespan as private replacements take shape.

Voyager Space and Airbus have said Starlab would deploy in 2028, but backed away from a specific timeline on Wednesday.

"It will occur before the ISS decommissioning; we're highly confident of that. Whether it's going to be late 2027, early 2028, or late 2028 we're still working out those details," Taylor said.

The two companies expect to announce a launch provider in coming months.

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First Published Date: 03 Aug, 09:48 IST
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