NASA funds three companies to build a commercial space station.

NASA has announced the selection of three US companies that will receive government funding to move forward. Build a private space station on Thursday. From a set of 11 proposals, NASA selected Blue Origin, Nanoracks LLC, and Northrop Grumman to receive more than $ 400 million in federal funding through three separate Space Act agreements.

NASA began looking for proposals for its Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development (CLD) program in July, which aims to help develop commercial space stations. It is part of a larger plan to eventually replace the International Space Station (ISS) with commercial space stations. Through this model, NASA will be a consumer of the commercial space industry, which will save it costs and focus on basic research. Search.

Blue Origin is set to receive $ 130 million to build the Orbital Reef, a concept of a free-flying space station that the company first announced in October. The orbital reef is being developed in partnership with the winged spacecraft Dream Chaser maker Sierra Space. Blue Origin Station says. Will be operational by the second half of the decade.

Nanoracks LLC is receiving 160 million for its Starlab station concept. Also announced in October is a collaboration with Starlab Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin. Designed to house four astronauts and carry out cutting-edge research on biology, materials science and more, Starlab is targeted to launch in 2027 in a single flight, according to a NASA press release.

Northrop Grumman’s 125 125.6 million award will give him the opportunity to build a commercial space station using existing technologies such as the Science spacecraft, which currently carries supplies to the ISS. Northrop is working with Dynetics on its concept for a modular space station, which will be announced in the future with other partners.

Axiom Space, a Houston-based company that was first funded in January 2020 to develop its own business module for incorporation into ISS. In a statement On Twitter, he did not bid for one of the CLD Awards.

According to NASA, the awards are the first part of a two-phase approach to ensure smooth transition of commercial stations to LEO.

The first phase, expected to continue through 2025, will allow grant recipients to create plans and designs that meet the needs of both the private sector and the government. During the second phase, NASA wants to certify these stations for use by human astronauts and, ultimately, to start using them.

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