Astrotech Corporation, (NASDAQ: SPAB – News), a leading provider of commercial space services, released today that the RSC Energia agreement in principle with the Companyâ€™s SPACEHAB Orbital Transportation, Inc. subsidiary, which was announced late last year, has now been formalized into a $1.8 million contract.
Russiaâ€™s largest manufacturer of aerospace and space equipment will utilize Astrotechâ€™s Cape Canaveral, Florida payload processing facilities and receive support services from Astrotech to prepare its Mini Research Module (MRM1) for flight aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle during the STS-132 mission.
â€œThis is a great win for Astrotech Corporation, and is the result of a lot of hard work from people all across the organization,â€ said Thomas B. Pickens III, Astrotechâ€™s chairman and chief executive officer. â€œThis contract continues our legacy of spacecraft ground processing support services and builds on our role in supporting the completion and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS).â€
Space shuttle mission STS-132 is currently scheduled for an April 2010 launch to ferry the MRM1 to the ISS where it will ultimately operate as a docking port extension for the Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles. The MRM1 will also be transporting a full payload of cargo including spare parts, research hardware, and consumables to the ISS. Following deployment from the shuttle’s cargo bay, the MRM1 will find its permanent residence on the ISS attached to the bottom port of the ZARYA module.
The Astrotech Payload Processing Facility, located adjacent to the south entrance of Kennedy Space Center, and the home port for NASAâ€™s space shuttle operations has supported 23 space shuttle missions using the Companyâ€™s own commercial, habitable space modules and cargo carriers. Astrotech brings more than two decades of spacecraft ground processing support services and expertise to the endeavor; and, offers established infrastructure capabilities in pre-launch operations, which have serviced more than 260 spacecraft since 1984.
This new MRM1 payload processing contract is the latest in a series of collaborative projects between RSC Energia and Astrotech. RSC Energia designed and built the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) series of un-pressurized cargo pallets for Astrotech in the mid to late 1990s. Astrotech and RSC Energia also collaborated on the conceptual development of the Enterprise module in 2000-2001, and supported various proposal development efforts such as the International Standard Payload Rack Waste Management System and the ISS Logistics Soft Stowage Bags.
And, over the last 12 years, RSC Energia designed and built for Astrotech various components of flight support equipment for ISS Orbital Replacement Units flying on ICCs in the shuttle payload bay, including the Strela Crane, Portable Work Platform, and Service Module Debris Panels. Astrotech is honored to carry this collaboration forward with the MRM1 effort.