USRA Continues Low Earth Orbit Presence with Nanoracks and Voyager Space

Starlab, a commercial low-Earth orbit space station is being planned for use by 2027. (Credit: Nanoracks)

COLUMBIA, Md. (USRA PR) — Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has been selected by Nanoracks and Voyager Space –along with ZIN Technologies, The Ohio State University, and the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation–to join the founding leadership team in charge of supporting the development of the Starlab George Washington Carver (GWC) Science Park. The GWC Science Park will leverage a successful terrestrial business model where scientists and industry members share findings, collaborate, and use new technologies to advance both scientific and commercial endeavors.

To maintain an uninterrupted U.S. presence in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) by transitioning from the International Space Station to commercial platforms, NASA signed an agreement with Nanoracks and their partners at Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin. This agreement helps enable Nanoracks to begin designing its Starlab commercial space station as part of NASA’s Commercial LEO Development program. The GWC Science Park, established by Nanoracks, is the world’s first-ever science park in space, active today on the International Space Station, and will be the core science element of Starlab once it achieves initial operational capability in 2027.

“We are excited to be formally helping to lead and organize the world’s first-ever science park in space,” said Dr. Jeffrey Isaacson, President and CEO, USRA “The applications for the science park are endless and we look forward to using our extensive research arm to move this initiative forward as we near the retirement of the International Space Station. Our decades of experience working together with Principal Investigators focused on space science and research will guide our vision for evolving the GWC Park in close collaboration with our Starlab partners.”

Universities Space Research Association in Columbia, Maryland has supported NASA with ground-based and in-space flight experiments in the areas of combustion, complex fluids, fluid physics, biomedical sciences, materials and structures, and in-space propulsion and cryogenic fluids management for over 30 years. USRA will merge this expertise with demonstrated success in Science Facility Management and Operations, and its over 50 years of experience successfully managing teams of universities to serve as the GWC Science Park Operations Manager and University Consortium Co-lead with Ohio State University.

ZIN Technologies (ZIN) – Middleburg Heights, Ohio, ZIN is a leader in providing advanced engineering solutions and product development for NASA, DOD, and private industry. Since 2001, ZIN has lead design, development, and operations of biological and physical science facilities and instruments on the ISS. ZIN will develop the customer research and lab hardware production in collaboration with Nanoracks and Lockheed Martin.

The Ohio State University (Ohio State) – Columbus, Ohio, will lead university business and research development efforts and drive academic and agricultural technology (AgTech) activities, through the College of Engineering and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Ohio State will also develop a ground-analog laboratory for terrestrial control missions in 1-G (Earth gravity) while paralleling space science activities and serving as a training facility for Principal Investigators to accustom themselves to the space research environment

The International Association of Science Parks (IASP) – Málaga, Spain: IASP is an organization of over 300 science and technology parks that links over 115,000 tech-based companies and research partners with representation on every continent. IASP will coordinate Starlab’s global outreach efforts to the science community. Nanoracks’ existing commercial research lab on the International Space Station is the first IASP member laboratory in space.

About USRA

Founded in 1969, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the U.S. Government, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is a nonprofit corporation chartered to advance space-related science, technology and engineering. USRA operates scientific institutes and facilities, and conducts other major research and educational program. USRA engages the university community and employs in-house scientific leadership, innovative research and development, and project management expertise. More information about USRA is available at www.usra.edu