After the first flights of Virgin Galactics, Blue Origin and SpaceX, the race for commercial space travel does not stop and now three American companies – Nanoracks, Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin – have announced a project to build what would be Mankind’s first private space station with the aim of doing scientific research, according to reported in a joint note, and to host tourists, according to Space.com.
The station will be called Starlab and is expected to be operational by 2027. Its promoters assure that its objective is meet the “growing needs of the space economy”Both for individual clients who want to do space tourism and for public and private institutions, such as governments, companies or research centers, who want to use their facilities for research purposes with payment.
The promoters of this project explain that Starlab will have a volume of 340 cubic meters and will be made up of an inflatable living space in which all the people of the station will be housed, a metal docking node, a large robotic arm for loading and unloading and laboratories state-of-the-art to offer multiple research possibilities, both scientific and industrial. In addition, four solar panels will generate approximately 60 kW of electricity.
The companies assure that the station will have capacity to continuously accommodate four astronauts for research, but they have not specified if that will be the total capacity of the facility or if it will have other spaces for possible overnight stays by galactic tourists.
The main core of Starlab will be the George Washington Carver Science Park, which will be made up of four labs: biology, to work with living organisms; botanical, only for plants; physics and new materials; and a last multipurpose.
Of the three partners that will collaborate to carry out this project, Lockheed Martin stands out, one of the world’s leading companies in the aerospace and arms industry. Nanoracks, meanwhile, is one of the regular contractors for the various space agencies around the world, and has extensive experience working with the International Space Station.