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SpaceX to launch Vast’s first space station module as well as two manned missions to it

Vast Haven-1 station inside Falcon-9 fairing
Vast Haven-1 station inside Falcon-9 fairing

SpaceX and the private space station company Vast today revealed a deal whereby SpaceX will use its Falcon 9 rocket to launch VAST’s first space station module, dubbed Vast Haven-1, followed soon thereafter by two manned missions using SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and lasting up to 30 days.

The announcements claim that first launch will occur by August 2025, which will make it the first privately-owned manned space station to reach orbit, well ahead of the plans by the three space station companies that NASA has issued contracts (by teams led by Northrop Grumman, Sierra Space, and Nanoracks). The only other private station hoping to beat this date, Axiom, won’t be flying independent, but will be attaching its first module to ISS in 2024.

In addition, Vast says that this module will be the incorporated into its proposed larger spinning-wheel station.

Vast is owned and financed by billionaire Jed McCaleb, who doesn’t need NASA seed money for development. In fact, it appears he and SpaceX want to remain as independent of the government as possible, considering the high fees NASA is charging to dock and stay at ISS as well as the stringent research rules it is demanding from private astronauts. This approach also appears to be the same one that Jared Isaacman is taking with his series of private missions on Dragon and Starship.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.


The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Edward

    I like the schedule, although as with all development projects, it is probably a bit optimistic. If they end up being the first independent commercial space station, they should get many eager companies, countries, and civilians interested in renting time aboard.

    Robert wrote: “ … considering the high fees NASA is charging to dock and stay at ISS as well as the stringent research rules it is demanding from private astronauts.

    The high fees that NASA charges is a good starting point for the amount that these commercial space stations can charge NASA for using their space stations.

    The downside is that the competition will quickly result in lowered price tags for space station occupancies. Well, a downside for sticking it to NASA, which looks greedy, right now. Lower prices is an upside for everyone else.

    NASA would undoubtedly stick to many of its ISS rules when renting commercial stations, but the company owning the station can set its own, more relaxed rules for its customers. Unlike NASA’s requirement, some customers may not desire to release their experimental results within five years and may prefer to keep their information proprietary.

  • Cloudy

    ISS is by its very nature a research laboratory. That imposes a lot of costs that are not going to exist for a tourist hotel. You need a lot more power. You need places to put things outside. You need to constrain activities that would interfere with experiments. One needs to store a ton of stuff. One needs extra life support for lab animals. All sorts of interfaces to station resources are needed. Some experiments need more space to isolate them from interference. The list goes on and on. Even on earth, a hospital or lab costs a lot more to build than a house or even a hotel.

    Of course, government ownership also increases costs. Add multiple national governments and it gets worse. However, even in the absence of these influences, it would be horribly expensive duplicate ISS’s full capabilities. However, it may be cheaper than one would think to build a private station that matches the ISS’s crew accommodations and add a few luxuries.

  • Edward

    Cloudy wrote: “However, even in the absence of these influences, it would be horribly expensive duplicate ISS’s full capabilities.

    Wouldn’t this be an advantage of having multiple smaller space stations? Each could specialize in certain areas, so the problems of integrating a huge number of items of equipment is less, with a lower cost that is associated with this simplification.

    Commercial ownership and free market competition would encourage the search for additional efficiencies, a search in which governments only think is an unnecessary expense.

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