The very first private space station will take off in 2025

The American startup Vast aims to put Haven-1 into orbit within two years. It will become the first representative of a new generation of private stations that will redefine humanity’s relationship to space.

In a communiqué spotted by Space.comthe American startup Vast has just announced that it intends to deploy its commercial space station Haven-1 in 2025. If it achieves its goal, it will be the very first private space station in the history of mankind — unless a competitor grills his politeness.

Haven-1 is above all a proof of concept intended to demonstrate the viability of the technologies that will be used on board the complete station. But this test module is still designed to be “ fully independent “. This is an abuse of language, since such a structure will still need to be supplied regularly. But it will already carry a functional life support system that will allow four astronauts to breathe and sustain themselves during a 30-day mission.

Regarding the energy supply, this first version will be able to deliver around 1000W permanently. It is quite modest; for comparison, the ISS produces between 80 and 120 kW. But this figure will increase considerably as new solar panels are added with the arrival of new modules.

A versatile infrastructure with artificial gravity

The crew will spend most of their time working on research projects, not just basic science. Vast clarifies that Haven-1 was designed to house a wide variety of manufacturing activities. Ultimately, the module could therefore serve as a basis for building real space garages, capable of maintaining or repairing other machines.

In the longer term, we can also imagine making it a real orbital factory in good and due form. This would make it possible to directly manufacture devices such as small cubesats directly in orbit to deploy them without having to launch a rocket.

Vast also mentions an artificial gravity system. Tiny thrusters, likely gas-powered, will be able to spin Haven-1 to generate centrifugal force. This will allow the crew to stand upright, unlike the ISS where astronauts float in microgravity. Again, if the deadlines are met, it will be a world first.

Residents will also be entitled to a communication system that complies with modern standards. It will provide permanent terrestrial Internet access through a standard Wi-Fi access point.

The race for private stations is accelerating

Haven-1 will be launched into orbit in August 2025 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. This mission will be quickly followed by a second launch of Falcon 9, this time surmounted by a Dragon capsule with four astronauts on board. The vehicle will dock at the station for a month. If all goes according to plan, this will be the first-ever mission aboard a private commercial space station.

But it is not excluded that a competitor takes Vast speed. Indeed, the startup is far from the only one working on its own station. It is even a major line of research in aerospace today. We are indeed in a period where more and more private actors are developing technologies to conquer this area long reserved for government space agencies.

The dawn of a new era

For the moment, most of them have mainly appeared on the side of launchers and satellites. But private space stations are fast approaching to fill the void left by the ISS, which will retire in early 2030. NASA has already launched calls for tenders to prepare for this deadline.

Among the winners of these calls for tenders, we find in particular Blue Origin, the company of Jeff Bezos. The billionaire and his troops rely heavily on this concept. Ultimately, the firm aims to become a real space real estate agency (see our article). To achieve this, it is currently developing a program called Orbital Reef. This is a range of private space stations that can serve as a laboratory or even an orbital hotel for wealthy tourists.

We can also mention Nanoracks with its Starlab station, expected in 2027. American defense titan Northrip Grumman is also working on a similar project. These three players have all received over $100 million from NASA to fund their private station projects.

It will therefore be necessary to remain attentive to the progress of the leaders of the sector, because the stakes are considerable. They go far beyond the scope of the ISS. Certainly, it is fundamental to ensure the succession of the venerable station. But it’s also about laying the foundations for a new era, just that. The arrival of these stations will make it possible to democratize – all things considered – access to Earth orbit, with all that this implies for the rest of the conquest of space. See you in a few years to witness the beginning of this great transformation.

Source: Journal du Geek by

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