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Commercial Space Station Starlab To Launch On Starship

SpaceX’s Starship has been chosen by Starlab Space, the joint venture building the Starlab commercial space station, to launch the station in a single trip.

Voyager Space and Airbus Space and Defence joint venture Starlab Space announced on January 31 that it had signed a deal with SpaceX to launch the Starlab station aboard Starship. The parameters of the arrangement and the anticipated launch date were not disclosed by the businesses, but a representative for Starlab Space expressed confidence that Starlab will launch before of the International Space Station’s 2030 decommissioning.

Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space, stated in a statement, “Our team chose Starship to orbit Starlab because of SpaceX’s history of success and dependability.” “Starlab will be launched into orbit in a single flight by Starship, and we are proud that SpaceX is the unrivalled leader for high-cadence launches.”

The Starlab Space joint venture, which Voyager and Airbus had launched in August of last year, was completed, the firms said on January 9. After severing ties with Lockheed Martin, Voyager began working with Airbus on the Starlab concept in January of last year.

Starlab was intended to be launched in a single trip by the businesses. The station has a sizable living and lab module that is connected to a smaller service module for propulsion and power.

It was improbable that Starlab could launch on anything other than Starship due to its size. The module has a diameter of more than eight metres, according to Manfred Jaumann, vice president of low Earth orbit and suborbital programmes at Airbus, who made this announcement during a presentation at the Space Tech Expo Europe conference in Bremen, Germany, last November. That exceeds the capacity of vehicles that are already in use or being developed, except Starship.

Like Starship, Starlab will be constructed of stainless steel, which Jaumann claimed was made feasible by the availability of massive launchers capable of delivering up to 100 tonnes into low Earth orbit. Additionally, the module will be built in a shipyard and fully integrated on land prior to launch, obviating the requirement for assembly in orbit. This reduces launch costs by over 80% and the manufacturing period in half to three years, he said.

However, negotiating with SpaceX entails dealing with a possible rival. Through the NASA Space Act Agreement effort, Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities-2, SpaceX was one of the companies that received an unfunded NASA Space Act Agreement in June. NASA stated that part of SpaceX’s deal was researching the use of Starship as a commercial space station.

To quote Tom Ochinero, senior vice president of commercial business at SpaceX, “Starlab’s single-launch solution continues to demonstrate not only what is possible, but how the future of commercial space is happening now.” “The SpaceX team is eager for Starship to liftoff with Starlab in order to sustain humanity’s ongoing presence in low-Earth orbit as we work towards establishing multiplanetary life.”

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