Russian Private Space Sector Begins Development of Commercial Space Station
[Satellite TODAY 09-30-10] Russia’s Orbital Technologies and Rocket and Space Corp. Energia (RSC Energria) have partnered to build, launch, and operate the world’s first Commercial Space Station (CSS), the companies announced Sept. 29.
The CSS will be designed to hold up to seven passengers and be targeted for use by private citizens, professional crews and corporate researchers interested in conducting scientific programs in space.
The station will be serviced by the Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft as well other transportation systems available in the global marketplace. The station’s docking system will allow access via any commercial crew and cargo capability developed in the Unites States, Europe and China, the companies said.
Orbital Technologies CEO Sergey Kostenko said that while the CSS would primarily be used as a hub for commercial activity, scientific research and development in low-Earth orbit, the company already has several customers already under contract from different segments of industry representing such areas as medical research and protein crystallization, materials processing, and the geographic imaging and remote sensing industry. “We also have proposals for the implementation of media projects, and, of course, some parties are interested in short duration stays on the station for enjoyment.”
In a statement, Russian Federation Space Agency Director of Manned Spaceflight Alexey Krasnov called the station an “interesting project,” because the station’s design and orbital inclination allows it to serve as an emergency refuge for the ISS crew, should it become necessary. “There is a possibility for the ISS crew to leave their station for several days. For example, if a required maintenance procedure or a real emergency were to occur, without the return of the ISS crew to Earth, habitants could use the CSS as a safe haven.”
Kostenko added that the CSS also could serve as a gateway to the rest of the solar system. “A short stopover at our station will be the perfect beginning of a manned circumlunar flight. Deep space manned exploration missions planned in the next decade are also welcome to use the CSS as a waypoint and a supply station.”
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