Starlab Space has selected SpaceX as the company in charge of launching its private Starlab space station into low Earth orbit (LEO) in a single flight. This partnership arises from a collaboration between Voyager Space y Airbus.
According to the announcement, SpaceX’s Starship vehicle will be tasked with a single mission to fully transport the Starlab station prior to the planned retirement of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2030. Although the release does not provide details on Starlab’s launch date, it notes that SpaceX’s giant Starship is a reusable launch vehicle designed to carry cargo and crew to both Earth orbit and the Moon.
“SpaceX’s track record of success and reliability led our team to select Starship to launch Starlab into orbit,” Dylan Taylor, President and CEO of Voyager Space, stated in the press release.
The Starlab space station crew
It is anticipated that Starlab will have a permanent crew of at least 4 people in low Earth orbit. This state-of-the-art private space station will continue the historic tradition of the ISS by conducting microgravity research and promoting scientific discovery.
The release emphasizes that its launch will facilitate the smooth transition of microgravity research from the ISS to the new era of advanced commercial space stations. In addition, Starlab will serve as an essential space platform that will cater to a diverse global clientele, including space agencies, researchers and companies.
About its launch
According to the statement, the space station will be fully ready on the ground for a one-time launch. Unlike the orbital ISS, which was built and assembled over multiple missions, with individual modules, components and parts launched independently and subsequently assembled in space.
“Starlab’s unique launch solution continues to demonstrate not only what is possible, but how the future of commercial space is happening now,” said Tom Ochinero, SpaceX’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Business.
“The SpaceX team is delighted that Starship is launching Starlab to support humanity’s continued presence in low-Earth orbit on our path to make life multi-planetary,” Ochinero added in the press release.
The Starship spacecraft is also planned to transport humans to the Moon and eventually to Mars. So far, the vehicle has completed two test flights, conducted in April and November 2023, from SpaceX’s South Texas space base.
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