Nanoracks to Make Space Outposts from Recycled Rocket Parts

Nanoracks to Make Space Outposts from Recycled Rocket Parts

NanoRack’s agreement with Maritime Launch will further establish the company's commitment to innovating a more affordable and less risky pathway to developing in-space habitats for future crewed missions, instead of fabricating modules on the ground and subsequently launching them to orbit

Fremont, CA: Houston-based Nanoracks has reached an agreement with Canadian Maritime Launch Services to turn rocket second stages into Nanoracks Space Outposts. The two companies have agreed to repurpose a spent C4M upper stage already in orbit after launch from Nova Scotia's Canso Spaceport.

"We envision populating the solar system with efficient platforms that can serve as hotels, research parks, fuel depots, storage centers, and more," said Nanoracks CEO, Jeffrey Manber. "We are proving time and time again that there are new ways to look at how we explore deep space, and that we need to think creatively but work cost-efficiently. This agreement with Maritime Launch will provide us with the in-orbit test bench second stage articles to do exactly that, and to grow our space industry even further."

Nanoracks is also planning to conduct a brief yet crucial test in orbit. The company intends to robotically cut a material representative of an upper stage in a self-contained hosted payload. Then, the payload is scheduled to travel to orbit on an ESPA ring attached to an upper stage. Nanoracks declined to reveal the launch provider. Maxar Technologies has been tasked with developing an articulating robotic arm with a tool for friction milling 3,000 revolutions per minute.

The high speed will help to ensure the metal melts and globs off rather than leaving shrapnel as residue. “We want to be good stewards of the orbital environment because we want to keep these Outposts up for a very long time. The milling technology is one of the critical path technologies to get us to the point where we can pressurize the enormous [liquid oxygen and hydrogen] tanks is to cut our way into those tanks on orbit," said Adrian Mangiuca, Nanoracks commerce director. "Of course, there are other technologies like sealing the vent holes, welding the metal back up, and doing construction. But fundamental to that entire architecture is cutting."

NanoRack’s agreement with Maritime Launch will further establish the company's commitment to innovating a more affordable and less risky pathway to developing in-space habitats for future crewed missions, instead of fabricating modules on the ground and subsequently launching them to orbit.

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