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NASA Fast Tracks Low-Earth Orbit Commercial Stations’ Development With More Funding

Budget boost

NASA Fast Tracks Low-Earth Orbit Commercial Stations’ Development With More Funding

NASA is accelerating its Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development program with added funding reallocated to two of its partners developing LEO destinations for commercial space activities in anticipation of the International Space Station’s 2030 retirement.

According to Phil McAlister, the agency’s commercial space director, the program’s partners were also assigned new technical milestones to help ensure a smooth transition from the ISS to commercial stations, NASA said Friday.

The additional seed money includes $57.5 million for Voyager Space’s Starlab station, increasing to $217.5 million its total award. An upgrade from berthing to docking capability for one of the project’s components, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft, is among Starlab’s new development milestones.  

NASA is also providing an additional $42 million for the Orbital Reef station of Blue Origin of Seattle for a total of $172 million in funding. The increased outlay will cover adding several subsystem design reviews, key tests and life support demonstrations like atmospheric monitoring.

NASA said it is still negotiating additional terms with its third commercial station partner, Axiom Space, with a fixed-price contract with the agency.

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Category: Space

Tags: Blue Origin commercial space station low-Earth orbit NASA Orbital Reef Phil McAlister space Starlab Voyager Space