Low orbit commercial real estate market takes off
If you are looking for a unique business investment opportunity, you might want to don a pair of astronaut boots and head to your nearest space station or low earth orbit hotel.
The commercial low Earth orbit market is heating up – literally – with more than 50 companies in the United States seeking to join a private space station development program.
Low Earth orbit is approximately 100 km above sea level.
The news comes after Orbital Assembly Corporation announced earlier this year that it plans to open a luxury space hotel, for 280 guests and 112 crew, by 2027.
On the space station side, Nanoracks, in collaboration with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin, plans to develop the first commercial free-flight space station known as Starlab.
Starlab is expected to have initial operational capability by 2027.
Nanoracks CEO Jeffrey Manber said they have been working for a long time to get the project up and running.
“From the start, Nanoracks has sought to own and operate a private space station to fully unlock market demand,” he said.
“Our team has spent the past decade learning the craft of space stations, understanding customer needs, mapping market growth, and investing in private ISS hardware like the Bishop Airlock.
“Nanoracks and our team are excited to be working with NASA and our friends around the world as we move forward with Starlab. “
The U.S. government wants to be one of the many customers of orbital research space, and NASA recently announced a Low Orbit Commercial Destination, or CLD, program to support the development of private space stations.
So far, 53 companies and organizations have expressed interest in the CLD program, including SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic Holdings.
CLD will boost LEO economy and provide science and crew capabilities ahead of retirement from the International Space Station
Lockheed Martin will build and operate Starlab, while Voyager Space will oversee the financing and capital investment. Starlab is expected to be 17 meters long, including its main inflatable habitat, which is approximately 26 feet in diameter.
Starlab’s business model is designed to enable science, research and manufacturing for global customers, as well as add value to long-duration astronaut missions.
It will also serve tourism and other commercial and commercial activities.
Voyager Space CEO Dylan Taylor said Starlab was a good investment.
“Voyager Space is very confident in Starlab’s business model and in its ability to be commercially sustainable and well capitalized,” he said.