Voyager Space and Airbus Defence and Space have announced a groundbreaking partnership for the joint development of the StarLab commercial space stations.
Voyager Space and Airbus Defence and Space have announced a groundbreaking partnership for the joint development of the Starlab commercial space station.
The joint venture, also named Starlab, will be responsible for both the development and operation of the space station, representing a significant step forward in the realm of commercial space exploration. The collaboration comes after a previous agreement in January, where Voyager Space had selected Airbus to provide technical support for the proposed station.
With the joint venture, the two companies are aiming to create an unmatched space destination both technologically and as a business operation.
"This transatlantic venture with footprints on both sides of the ocean aligns the interests of both ourselves and Voyager and our respective space agencies...Together our teams are focused on creating an unmatched space destination both technologically and as a business operation. - Jean-Marc Nasr, Airbus, Head of Space Systems
While financial details of the partnership were not disclosed, it was confirmed that the joint venture will be U.S.-led, with at least 51% ownership by U.S. entities like Voyager Space.
This U.S. leadership will be instrumental in making it easier for European governments and organizations, including the European Space Agency (ESA), to participate in the Starlab project. European officials have previously expressed concerns about paying American companies for flying European astronauts, but having Airbus as part of the joint venture should address these issues and enable a smoother collaboration.
Matthew Kuta, President of Voyager Space has previously highlighted the importance of strong partnerships in the commercial space industry, stating that the joint venture with Airbus strengthens their position to address customer demands more effectively. He emphasized that the focus of Starlab will be on research applications, not tourism.
The Starlab project has already received significant support from NASA, with Voyager Space receiving a $160 million Space Act Agreement in December 2021 to support initial design work. The station recently completed a system requirements review with NASA, and the progress has been promising.
The partnership between Voyager Space and Airbus marks a significant step towards the realization of Starlab, which promises to open up new avenues for space research and collaboration between nations and organizations. As the project moves forward, it holds the potential to become a key hub for scientific advancements in space, benefitting humanity as a whole.
StarLab, is designed to fit on a single launch and will be equipped with all the necessary research equipment on the ground. The primary goal of Starlab is to support various research endeavors, with interests from both government agencies and private companies, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector.
The aim is to continue and expand the research capabilities that the International Space Station (ISS) currently provides, but with upgraded technologies and facilities.