Voyager Space and Airbus Defense Unite to Build Starlab

American firm Voyager Space and Europe's Airbus Defense and Space have announced a transatlantic partnership.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Voyager Space and Airbus Defense Unite to Build Starlab

In a significant development that has the potential to redefine the future of space exploration, American firm Voyager Space and Europe's Airbus Defense and Space have announced a transatlantic partnership. This collaboration aims to construct a new generation of private space stations, a bold endeavor that underscores the growth of commercial involvement in what has traditionally been a government-led arena.

Starlab: The Successor to the International Space Station

The new venture is named Starlab, and it is being planned as a successor to the International Space Station (ISS), one of the most successful platforms for international cooperation in space exploration history.

Starlab will not only have an American entity, but it will also have a European joint venture subsidiary, which will directly serve the European Space Agency (ESA) and the space agencies of the member states. Speaking on this collaboration, Matthew Kuta, President at Voyager Space, said, "We are proud to charter the future of space stations with Airbus.

The ISS is widely regarded as the most successful platform for global cooperation in space history, and we are committed to building on this legacy as we move forward with Starlab." The project has been boosted by Voyager's receipt of $160 million from NASA in December 2021 via its subsidiary, Nanoracks, through NASA's Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program.

This has been a crucial stepping stone in Starlab's construction.

A New Era in Private Space Sector Collaboration

This development continues the tradition of American and European collaborations in space exploration, most notably the Hubble Space Telescope, operated by ESA.

The novelty here lies in extending this partnership into the burgeoning private space sector, representing a significant step forward in transatlantic cooperation. Starlab aims to serve not only NASA but also a broad customer base of international space agencies and global researchers.

Its core mission is to maintain a human presence and reinforce US leadership in low Earth orbit. In June 2023, the Starlab project crossed a significant milestone with the completion of the Systems Requirements Review (SRR), which validated the space systems, technical readiness, and compliance with NASA's mission and safety requirements.

While the partnership's implementation is subject to regulatory approvals from governing bodies, Starlab represents a bold leap towards a new era in space exploration.

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