NASA funds three private companies to build new space stations very soon


The International Space Station (ISS) is aging slowly but surely. While temporary repairs have succeeded in extending the life of the ISS, the time for its decommissioning may soon arrive.

On December 3, NASA announced the names of three space companies to develop space stations, or “commercial destinations in space.”


Extended funding

The total estimated amount for research and development funding is $ 415.6 million. The companies are Blue Origin ($ 130 million), Nanoracks ($ 160 million), Northrop Grumman ($ 125.6 million).

In its press release, NASA explained how the move aims to ensure “an uninterrupted US presence in low earth orbit by moving from the International Space Station to other platforms.”

Read also : Four disaster relief solutions that saved astronauts’ lives on the International Space Station

According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the goal is to develop space destinations where people can visit, live and work.

NASA’s two-phase approach

NASA has developed a two-phase approach for the transition of the ISS to commercial destinations. In the first phase, private actors and NASA will collaborate to create low Earth orbit destinations for government and private sector needs. This phase will extend at least until 2025.

Orbital Reef Space Station
Blue Origin

For example, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Sierra Space are currently building Orbital Reef, which will be a commercial space station expected to operate in the second half of this decade. Orbit Reef station would be a “mixed-use business park”.

Read also : Blue Origin building Jeff Bezos’ Orbital Reef space station during this decade

Nanorocks worked with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin to develop its Starlab space station, with a launch date of 2027.

Northrop Grumman is also building a modular commercial space station in low Earth orbit. The company builds on the knowledge gained from partnering with NASA over the years.

The second phase of NASA’s space station development programs would focus on certifying NASA crew members to use these destinations when needed, allowing the space agency to focus on space missions on Mars and the Moon.

Orbital Reef Space Station
Blue Origin

What do you think of NASA’s ambitious plans for private companies in the United States? We may be able to visit space stations by the start of the next decade. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. To learn more about the world of tech and science, keep reading


Margetta, R. (2021, December 2). NASA Selects Companies to Develop Business Destinations in Space. Nasa.


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