. 24/7 Space News .
Kentucky firm plans orbital mini space station in two years
by Paul Brinkmann
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 1, 2021

A Kentucky space firm that conducts science experiments on the International Space Station has plans to launch its own miniature, automated orbital research platform in about two years.

Lexington-based Space Tango has small research containers, or CubeLabs, on the space station. Bustling business and growing need for such experiments in microgravity led the company to plan its own space station, founder and CEO Twyman Clements said.

"As the scale of our business grows across a number of uses, having a dedicated spacecraft for manufacturing is the way to go," Clements said in an interview Friday.

He declined to say how much the company would spend on the project or how much each spacecraft might cost.

Founded in 2014 by Clements, an aerospace engineer, Space Tango installed its first small laboratory on the ISS in 2016 and a second in 2017.

Space Tango is among a growing number of firms that manufacture high-tech fiber optics, medical equipment and human tissue in the microgravity of space, mostly with advanced 3D printing.

Such orbital methods produce more delicate structures than on the surface, where gravity can create imperfections.

The space station, named ST-42, would be little more than a capsule with solar panels for electrical power and a heat shield. The interior could be reconfigured depending on what each mission required, Clements said.

The spacecraft has been in the design phase for about two years. Space Tango is trying to decide what type of propulsion ST-42 would have, he said.

"We're not necessarily interested in using hydrazine, which is common for in-space propulsion," he said, adding that hydrazine is a toxic and explosive chemical used to fuel many satellites but the company may seek a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Space Tango hasn't chosen a launch provider, but Clements said he has looked at ride-sharing launches with California-based companies SpaceX and Rocket Lab, among others.

Space Tango, which has about 22 employees, plans to launch a test prototype in 2023 that wouldn't have a heat shield, just to test launch and spaceflight, Clements said.

Typical missions would remain in a low-Earth orbit for about two weeks, he said. Plans call for the capsule to splash down near Florida, where Space Tango plans an initial processing facility near Kennedy Space Center.

Such ability to bring a cargo spacecraft back from orbit with sensitive science on board only is possible currently by using SpaceX's cargo Dragon capsules, said Rich Boling, a vice president at Indiana-based space company Techshot, which also houses experiments on the ISS.

Three other cargo vehicles can bring science and supplies to the space station, but they all burn up in the atmosphere upon undocking -- the Russian Progress capsule, Northrop Grumman Cygnus and Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle.

Techshot might like to fly some future experiments on ST-42 if the opportunity arises, Boling said.

"The space station has been the best option so far, and NASA has plans to expand the capability there," Boling said. "But most of those experiments require astronauts. Having an automated, independent orbital platform would be a welcome alternative."

Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Youngest American to go into space is also a cancer survivor
Washington (AFP) Feb 23, 2021
By the end of the year, Hayley Arceneaux will be the youngest American in space and one of the first tourists to enter orbit unaccompanied by professional astronauts. It is a feat made all the more remarkable by her battle to overcome a childhood cancer that robbed the 29 year old of her dream of becoming an astronaut herself. Due to the bone cancer she overcame, Arceneaux has steel rods in her left leg - which until recently were enough to shatter her hopes of going into space. Enter Jared ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Cancer survivor to join first all-private spaceflight on SpaceX's Dragon

Suspected breach plugged in Russian ISS module as air leak hunt continues

NASA spacewalk Sunday will prepare for new solar power

Space snapshot

New rocket, Firefly's Alpha, may be ready to launch by April

Virgin Galactic posts revenue loss of $238m in Q4

Blue Origin delays heavy-lift New Glenn rocket launch to 2022

SpaceX CEO Reacts to Rumors SEC Will Investigate Him Over Dogecoin Tweets

SwRI scientist captures evidence of dynamic seasonal activity on a Martian sand dune

Mastcam-Z's First 360-Degree Panorama

Tianwen 1 probe enters preset parking orbit

Testing proves its worth with successful mars parachute deployment

China explores space with self-reliance, open mind

China begins assembly of Long March 5B to launch space station core

Xi lauds China's progress in space missions

Chinese tracking vessel sets sail for monitoring missions in Indian Ocean

SpaceX scrubs 20th Starlink communications satellite launch

'Space Bridge' across the world will help UK and Australia get ahead in global space race

SpaceX plans 20th Starlink launch Sunday evening from Florida

Business support scheme to boost UK space industry has lift off

L3Harris Technologies Awarded Second Year of Space Object-Tracking Modernization Contract

UCF joins project to develop composites for spacecraft, NASA missions

Air Force tests suicide prevention training with virtual reality system

Imaging space debris in high resolution

Big galaxies steal star-forming gas from their smaller neighbours

Microbes deep beneath seafloor survive on byproducts of radioactive process

The Milky Way may be swarming with planets with oceans and continents like here on Earth

On the quest for other Earths

SwRI scientists image a bright meteoroid explosion in Jupiter's atmosphere

Solar system's most distant planetoid confirmed

Peering at the Surface of a Nearby Moon

A Hot Spot on Jupiter

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.