SpaceX's Starship tapped to launch Starlab space station into orbit
Two ambitious space projects move ahead as Voyager Space and Airbus announce that the partners have selected SpaceX's Starship rocket to boost their Starlab space station into orbit sometime before the International Space Station (ISS) is abandoned.
Scheduled for decommissioning in 2030, the ISS won't be replaced with an ISS II. Instead, the plan is to switch to a fleet of smaller, privately owned and operated orbital outposts. Starlab is one of these and is being developed by Starlab Space, which is a partnership between Voyager Space and Airbus, with technical assistance from ESA.
The selection of SpaceX's Starship means that the rocket's up to 150-tonne payload capacity can put the Starlab into low-Earth orbit (LEO) as one complete unit that can be deployed before the arrival of its four-person crew.
It's also an indication of how far Starship has come in development. Though Starship is known mainly for its test flights ending in spectacular explosions, it's easy to forget that the Falcon family of boosters went through the same phase. Now, they are scheduled to complete 148 orbital launches in 2024. This selection for Starlab shows that confidence is increasing that Starship will be cleared for commercial service in the foreseeable future.
"SpaceX’s history of success and reliability led our team to select Starship to orbit Starlab," said Dylan Taylor, Chairman and CEO, Voyager Space. "SpaceX is the unmatched leader for high-cadence launches and we are proud Starlab will be launched to orbit in a single flight by Starship."
The video below delivers the "sizzle" for Starlab.
Source: Voyager Space