NASA Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD)


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Posted (edited)

The Plan appears to be the ISS partners  transitioning out of the ISS into commercial space stations in 2029 - 2030. Previous decommissioning plans have ISS splashing into the South Pacific.





Excerpts from this months update,




2.4 Project Schedule
NASA will commence its support activities with the participant upon execution of the SAA, which is targeted for early FY 2022 and will end those activities in late FY 2025. For purposes of the proposal, participants shall assume Phase II service contract award at the beginning of FY26 and transition of NASA utilization from ISS to CLD over the FY29-30 period. As described in section 2.3, the participant is requested to propose an Optional Period with additional milestones to achieve a CDR-level of maturity.



2.2.2 Crew Service Goals
Service goals for accommodation of crew:

• Accommodations on CLD of at least two crew.
• Continuous crew presence on CLD (this can be an evolutionary capability).
• Flexible frequency of crew rotation, including occasional crew stays of six months, one year, or longer.
• The CLD will provide crew accommodations (food, hygiene, medical, exercise, etc.).

2.2.3 Payload and Facility Service Goals
• Able to accommodate internal pressurized payloads and facilities
    o Able to accommodate Middeck Locker Equivalents (MLE) to accommodate heritage payloads. New payloads can be built to participant’s interface requirements.
    o Able to accommodate payloads and facilities that are larger than MLEs.
• Able to accommodate approximately six external unpressurized payloads, oriented as one ram, one wake, two nadir, and two zenith.

2.2.4 “Stretch” Service Goals
In addition to evaluating the overall CLD goals listed above, NASA will also evaluate proposed CLD concepts for their ability to provide the following ancillary service capabilities listed here. Implementation of these goals should not impact the CLD’s primary goal to provide the services described in the sections above in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner. Optional or evolutionary approaches to support these goals can be proposed along with approximate development costs. Exploration Analog Services
Capability to perform exploration analog missions on the CLD to simulate deep space transportation conditions with environmental and acoustic isolation of a crew from other CLD activity and dedicated use of customer-furnished exploration test beds. Key components for consideration include:
• Up to 4 crew members
• Crew volume of approximately 100 cubic meters
• Isolation, both in terms of environmental and sensory, from any other CLD activities
• In-situ sample processing & analysis of blood, urine, saliva, omics, chemistry, cytometry
• Mission duration of 30 days to one year or more
• Potential test beds:
    o ECLSS
    o Food system with cold stowage
    o Exercise equipment
    o Medical equipment Artificial/Partial Gravity Services
Capability to perform up to human-scale artificial gravity research such as to simulate Moon and/or Mars surface gravity for experiments or as a countermeasure to the effects of microgravity on crew health and performance.



Edited by DocM
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Another commercial space station candidate: StarLab (Nanoracks, Lockheed Martin, Voyager Space)



Nanoracks, in collaboration with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin, has formed a team to develop the first-ever free flying commercial space station.

The space station, known as Starlab, will be a continuously crewed commercial platform, dedicated to conducting critical research, fostering industrial activity, and ensuring continued U.S. presence and leadership in low-Earth orbit. Starlab is expected to achieve initial operational capability by 2027.


To meet U.S. government, international space agency, and commercial needs in space, these industry leaders will develop Starlab specifically to enable the growing space economy and meet pent-up customer demand for space services such as materials research, plant growth, and astronaut activity. Together, these companies bring unparalleled experience in commercial space utilization, engineering design and performance, technology innovation, and investment strategy.


"Since the beginning, Nanoracks has sought to own and operate a private space station to fully unlock market demand," says Jeffrey Manber, CEO and Co-Founder of Nanoracks. "Our team has spent the last decade learning the business of space stations, understanding customer needs, charting market growth, and self-investing in private hardware on the ISS like the Bishop Airlock. Nanoracks and our team are excited to work with NASA and our friends across the world as we move forward with Starlab."




Nanoracks station CLD3l.jpg

Nanoracks station CLD2l.jpg

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NASA says Commercial Crew has saved them $20 - $30 billion.


Over a dozen CLD proposals.



NASA reviews private space station proposals, expects to save over $1 billion annually after ISS retires


NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by the end of this decade, so the U.S. space agency is turning to private companies to build new space stations in orbit – and expects to save more than $1 billion annually as a result.


NASA earlier this year unveiled the Commercial LEO Destinations project, with plans to award up to $400 million in total contracts to as many as four companies to begin development of private space stations.


NASA is now evaluating the proposals, and McAlister said the agency hopes to announce the contract winners “before the end of the year,” although he is “pushing for earlier.” 


[...] interested parties included recognizable names like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.



Also Axiom, Sierra Space, and others.

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10Orbital Reef commercial space station



Sierra Space (LIFE modules, Dream Chaser, Shooting Star logistics module)


Boeing (Starliner, utility  module, station operations)


Blue Origin (New Glenn launcher)


Red wire Space (deployable structures, payload operations, orbital manufacturing)


Genesis Engineering (single-person shirtsleeve service  spacecraft/POD)




Unannounced CLD proposals 



MAXAR/SSL (Gateway  PPE)

Northrop Grumman (Cygnus, Gateway HALO)


Rocket Lab (Electron, Neutron, Photon kick-stage/tug/spacecraft) 


Non US


Airbus (??)

Thales Alenia Space (Axiom modules)

MDA (Canadarm)

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has signed agreements with three U.S. companies to develop designs of space stations and other commercial destinations in space. The agreements are part of the agency’s efforts to enable a robust, American-led commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.


The total estimated award amount for all three funded Space Act Agreements is $415.6 million. The companies that received awards are:


• Blue Origin of Kent, Washington (+ Sierra Space), for $130 million (Orbital Reef)


• Nanoracks LLC, of Houston (+ Lockheed Martin) for $160 million (StarLab)


• Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, for $125.6 million (Cygnus-based small station)


NASA seeks to maintain an uninterrupted U.S. presence in low-Earth orbit by transitioning from the International Space Station to other platforms. These awards will stimulate U.S. private sector development of commercial, independent  

space stations that will be available to both government and private-sector customers.


The awards are the first in a two-phase approach to ensure a seamless transition of activity from the International Space Station to commercial destinations. During this first phase, private industry, in coordination with NASA, will formulate and design commercial low-Earth orbit destination capabilities suitable for potential government and private sector needs. The first phase is expected to continue through 2025.




Blue Origin Orbital Reef



Nanoracks StarLab



Northeip-Grumman mini station


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