NASA awards 3 contracts for space station construction to Blue Origin and others23rd Dec 2021
The US space agency, NASA, has been turning towards outsourcing its technology needs to companies like Blue Origin for the past five years in the hopes of reducing costs. NASA previously stated that it would be focusing more on planning missions rather than constructing tech. The agency has some rather ambitious plans ahead of it, including building habitats on the Moon and preparing for a crewed mission to Mars.
Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman and Nanoracks awarded contracts worth $415 million
NASA decided a while ago to decommission the International Space Station. The decision wasn’t taken lightly as the ISS has a long history in the space industry and has become a symbol of international cooperation. NASA claimed, however, that the tech onboard the station is terribly outdated, and the funding needed to update it would not match the company’s goals.
The three new space stations are planned for launch before the ISS is completely decommissioned at the end of the decade.
Partnerships for the colonization of space
We are seeing a lot of partnerships forming between large US space companies. Blue Origin announced a while ago that it would be partnering with Sierra Space to develop Orbital Reef, a VIP space centre able to house up to 10 people at a time. Blue Origin’s station is planned to launch in the second half of the decade.
Like Blue Origin, Nanoracks is partnering with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin to construct ‘Starlab,’ a space station containing a biology lab, a physics lab, and plant habitat.
The third space station is being developed by Northrop Grumman. The company has a long history of partnering up with NASA; they developed the Cygnus, a spaceship able to provide cargo deliveries to the ISS. Northrop Grumman’s space station will be constructed module by module and will include tourism, science, and industrial areas.
The ISS is currently deemed safe to operate until 2028. NASA hopes that the stations constructed by Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman will be operational before the deadline.