Thursday, February 01, 2024
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Web Desk

Starlab's private space station to be launched on SpaceX's Starship

Voyager CEO Dylan Taylor states that decision reduces on-orbit risks and is consistent with original plan

By
Web Desk
A Starlab satellite in space. — X/@tsr
A Starlab satellite in space. — X/@tsr

Starlab, a private space station developed by Voyager Space and Airbus, is set to be launched into orbit onboard a SpaceX Starship rocket before the end of the decade, the companies announced Wednesday.

Starlab is part of several private space station initiatives funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa)'s Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program, aiming to fill a critical "space station gap" before the International Space Station (ISS) is decommissioned in 2030.

Starlab plans to be launched in a single mission, with Starship being the only heavy-lift rocket under development capable of accommodating the station's eight-meter-diameter in one go, according to TechCrunch.

Voyager CEO Dylan Taylor stated that this decision reduces on-orbit risks and is consistent with the original plan.

“Let's say you have a station that requires multiple launches, and then you're taking the hardware and you're assembling it [on orbit],” he said. “Not only is that very costly, but there's a lot of execution risk around that as well. That's what we were trying to avoid and we're convinced that that's the best way to go.”

Taylor revealed that earlier this month, Voyager and Airbus finalised their Starlab joint venture, leveraging technical expertise and ties to their respective government space agencies.

The move required the completion of closing reviews, including a review with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)

The partnership builds on Airbus' earlier agreement to provide “technical support and expertise” for Starlab.

Airbus will manufacture the Starlab module in-house and any additional Starlabs the joint venture launches in the future.

A year ago, Voyager said that Starlab is planned to be launched in 2028; this new announcement on the launch deal with SpaceX included no firm dates, however, and Taylor said the focus is to have Starlab in orbit before the ISS retirement in 2030.