Boeing, NanoRacks to Enable More US SmallSats Deployed from ISS
Boeing and NanoRacks will partner to develop the first privately funded commercial airlock, enabling the United States to potentially triple the number of small satellites it can deploy from the International Space Station (ISS) during a single airlock cycle. ISS prime contractor Boeing will build and install the airlock’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism, the hardware used to connect the pressurized modules of the ISS.
The NanoRacks Airlock Module, planned to be attached to the ISS U.S. segment in 2019, will increase the capability of transferring equipment, payloads and deployable satellites from inside the ISS to outside, significantly increasing the utilization of ISS, according to the companies. Currently, the United States uses the airlock on the ISS Japanese Experiment Module. This new commercial airlock will be larger and more robust to better handle increasing market requirements.
“The installation of NanoRacks’ commercial airlock will help us keep up with demand,” said Boeing International Space Station program manager Mark Mulqueen. “This is a big step in facilitating commercial business on the ISS.”