Capitalism in space: Voyager Space, the subsidiary of Nanoracks that is building its Starlab private space station, has signed a cooperative agreement with Azercosmos, Azerbaijan’s space agency.
The press release is very vague about what the deal entails.
This strategic multi-year collaboration paves the way for Azercosmos and Voyager Space to proactively develop mutually beneficial space infrastructure, technology, and manufacturing initiatives, research programs, and further opportunities for innovation. With the potential to exchange experience and knowledge, the organizations will focus on commercial and educational opportunities in-country to foster a thriving local space ecosystem.
I suspect it will eventually lead to Azerbaijan sending research payloads to Starlab, once it is in orbit and operational.
The number of recent deals made by American private space companies, either to fly foreign astronauts in space, provide payload space on planetary missions, or provide space station capabilities for foreign science research, is beginning to be difficult to count. With at least four different American private space stations under construction, with at least one more proposed, the rush to sign up customers by these companies is accelerating.
Expect the business to be very brisk once these get launched. It appears that practically every government on Earth wants to claim it has a space program, and buying space and seats from these American commercial companies is going to be the quickest and cheapest way to do it.