NASA, Axiom to Discuss First Private Astronaut Space Station Mission

Pilot Larry Connor, mission commander Michael López-Alegría, mission specialist Mark Pathy, and mission specialist Eytan Stibbe.

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA experts will join a virtual news conference hosted by Axiom Space to preview the launch of Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. The briefing will take place at 11 a.m. EST Monday, Feb. 28.

The virtual press conference will be available on Axiom Space’s YouTube channel at:

https://www.youtube.com/axiomspace

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NASA Rejected Relativity Space’s Plan for Commercial LEO Space Station

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Relativity Space unsuccessfully applied for NASA funding to begin work on a commercial space station under the space agency’s Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) program, according to a newly released government document.

The space agency awarded $415.6 million for space station proposals from Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman. The commercial stations are designed to provide the United States with uninterrupted access to Earth orbit when the International Space Station is retired in 2030.

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NASA Rejected Commercial Space Station Proposals from Maverick Space, Orbital Assembly and ThinkOrbital

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA rejected space station development proposals from Maverick Space Systems, Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC) and ThinkOrbital, according to a newly released document.

The three companies were competing for funding under the space agency’s Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) program. The effort is focused on the development of private commercial space stations that will provide the the United States with uninterrupted access to Earth orbit when the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2030.

NASA awarded $415.6 million for space station proposals from Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman under the CLD program. The space agency also rejected proposals from SpaceX and Relativity Space.

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A Closer Look at Northrop Grumman Commercial Space Station

Northrop Grumman’s free flyer commercial destination design leverages flight proven elements to provide the base module for extended capabilities including science, tourism, industrial experimentation, and building of infrastructure beyond initial design. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

NASA has released the selection statement that lays out the space agency’s reasoning for awarding Nanoracks, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman a total of $415.6 million to develop plans for private space stations under the Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) program. The facilities are designed to maintain a permanent U.S. presence in Earth orbit when the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2030.

In this story, we’ll look at the Northrop Grumman’s station. The project summary is drawn from publicly available information. Excerpts from the selection statement follow. Long paragraphs in the latter have been broken up to improve readability. Acronyms have been spelled out for the sake of clarity.

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SpaceX Proposed Adapting Human Landing System into a Commercial Space Station

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX unsuccessfully applied for NASA funding to begin work on adapting the Human Landing System (HLS) it is building to send American astronauts to the lunar surface into a commercial Earth orbiting space station, according to a newly released government document.

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A Closer Look at Nanoracks’ Starlab Commercial Space Station

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

NASA has released the selection statement that lays out the space agency’s reasoning for awarding Nanoracks, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman a total of $415.6 million to develop plans for private space stations under the Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) program. The facilities are designed to maintain a permanent U.S. presence in Earth orbit when the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2030.

In this story, we’ll look at the Nanoracks’ Starlab station. The project summary is drawn from publicly available information. Excerpts from the selection statement follow. Long paragraphs in the latter have been broken up to improve readability. Acronyms have been spelled out for the sake of clarity.

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NASA Provides Updated International Space Station Transition Plan

The space station is viewed from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon during its automated approach before docking. (Credit: NASA TV)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station is a unique laboratory that is returning enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit people on Earth and is enabling our ability to travel into deep space. The Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to extend space station operations until 2030 will enable the United States to continue to reap these benefits for the next decade while U.S. industry develops commercial destinations and markets for a thriving space economy.  

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NASA Orders 3 Additional Crew Dragon Flights From SpaceX

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. (Credit: NASA TV)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX to acquire up to three additional crew flights to the International Space Station as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract. The additional crew flights allow NASA to maintain an uninterrupted U.S. capability for human access to the space station.

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NASA Requests Information for American Crew Transportation to Space Station

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA released a request for information from American industry capable of providing safe, reliable, and cost-effective human space transportation services to and from the International Space Station to ensure a continuous human presence aboard the microgravity laboratory.

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NASA Enables Commercial Crew, Private Astronaut Missions

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. (Credit: NASA TV)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — When SpaceX launches its Inspiration4 mission with four crew members to space, it will be the company’s first fully private launch with astronauts to orbit. Although not a NASA mission, the flight embodies the agency’s vision and work to foster a strong space economy, with private companies providing commercial transportation to space for people and cargo as well as creating future commercial destinations in space.

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NASA Seeks Proposals for Next 2 Private Astronaut Missions to Space Station

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is seeking proposals for two new private astronaut missions to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s efforts to open space to more people than ever before. With these opportunities, U.S. commercial companies will continue to play an essential role in establishing a sustained presence in low-Earth orbit (LEO) through the agency’s Commercial LEO Development Program.

The first targeted flight opportunity will occur between fall of 2022 and mid-2023 and the second will occur between mid-2023 and the end of 2023. Proposals are due Friday, July 9, 2021 at 5 p.m. EDT. NASA will host a pre-proposer’s conference to field industry questions related to this announcement on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. To confirm attendance, please email Karen Dailey at karen.j.dailey@nasa.gov.

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NASA, Axiom Space to Host Media Briefing on Private Astronaut Mission

The Axiom Space Ax-1 crew: former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, Canadian businessman Mark Pathy, American investor Larry Connor, and Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe. (Credit: Axiom Space)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Axiom Space have signed a mission order for the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station and will host a teleconference with media at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 10, to discuss more details about the mission.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live online at: 

http://www.nasa.gov/live

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NASA Will Name Companies Selected to Collect Lunar Resources Under Artemis Program

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will hold a media teleconference Thursday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. EST to announce the companies it has selected to collect lunar resources as part of the Artemis program. NASA’s Acting Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations Mike Gold and Director of Commercial Spaceflight Development Phil McAlister will provide an update on the selections and answer questions from the media.

Audio of the teleconference will stream live online at: 

http://www.nasa.gov/live

Next-generation lunar science and technology is a key objective for returning to the Moon under the Artemis program and preparing for Mars. The ability to extract and use space resources is critical to support a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

Companies selected for space resources contracts will collect a small amount of lunar regolith from any location on the Moon’s surface and provide imagery to NASA of the collected material, along with data that identifies the collection location.

After NASA receives the information, the company will conduct an in-place transfer of ownership of the lunar regolith to the agency, completing the commercial transaction.

Learn more about NASA’s space resources effort at:

https://go.nasa.gov/36nNUKI

NASA and SpaceX Complete Certification of First Human-Rated Commercial Space System

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Resilience for NASA SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission are seen inside the SpaceX Hangar at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 9, 2020, before rollout to Launch Pad 39A. (Credits: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Years of design, development, and testing have culminated in NASA officially certifying the first commercial spacecraft system in history capable of transporting humans to and from the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA completed the signing of the Human Rating Certification Plan Tuesday for SpaceX’s crew transportation system after a thorough Flight Readiness Review ahead the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the space station.

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