In August 2018, NanoRacks was one of 13 companies selected by NASA to study the future of commercial human spaceflight in LEO, including long-range opportunities for the International Space Station.
NanoRacks is now pleased to share the expansive industry team that the company will be working with to complete this study and show the viability of commercial habitats (“Outposts”) in LEO and the future of International Space Station commercial utilization.
In this four-month study, NanoRacks will investigate the commercial case for the re-purposing of in-space hardware, specifically the upper stages of launch vehicles, via the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program. NanoRacks, and their LEO commercialization team, aim to define the market, policy, and contractual ecosystems required for the commercial sustainability of the Outpost Program — as autonomous and human-habitable platforms.
Outpost is not a specific technology but a collection of techniques, including robotic repurposing, outfitting, and payload integrating, for recycling commercially useful volume out of otherwise discarded in-space assets.
Participating partners include:
- United Launch Alliance (ULA) – LEO Village
- Terminal Velocity Aerospace – Payload Return
- Stratolaunch Systems Corporation – MLV Outfitting to Outpost Specifications
- Lunar Resources – In-space manufacturing
- Space BD – Collaboration on Satellite Deployment
- Olis Robotics -Telerobotic Operations
- Made In Space – In-space Manufacturing
- Space Adventures – Space Tourism
- Altius Space Machines – Proximity Operations and Space Tugs
- Deep Space Industries – Orbital Maneuvering
- Kongsberg Satellite Services – Ground Station Coordination
- Marsh – Insurance Analysis
- Oliver Wyman – Risk Analysis
NanoRacks first announced its intent to operate commercial Outposts throughout the solar system in 2016, when it was one of six companies selected to participate in NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (“NextSTEP-2”) program. Initial technical feasibility of repurposing upper stages in orbit, both autonomously and via human astronauts, was successfully proved by NanoRacks in Fall 2017.
This study intends to provide a viable, realistic roadmap for all low-Earth orbit stakeholders, from the United States Government to commercial suppliers and end-users.
NanoRacks Commerce Director and Principal Investigator for the LEO Commercialization Study, Adrian Mangiuca,said that this team is unprecedented. Experts from across the aerospace industry are contributing innovative technology and business concepts, all for one collaborative program.
NanoRacks CEO Jeffrey Manber noted that this is the company vision coming to life. The company is seeking to dramatically lower the cost for operating multiple commercial Outposts throughout the solar system, and the firm plans to do so in a way that leverages the expertise of agile commercial space companies, and feeds back into the growing ecosystem. NanoRacks is looking at the role of government in the evolution of the International Space Station in the roadmap to commercialization.
Further information about the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program can be found here.
You may also find the NanoRacks team at the International Astronautical Congress in booth 5-B-20.