Friday, April 13, 2012

CASIS, NanoRacks Close Deal for ISS Research


Click the arrow to watch a CASIS video on NanoRacks use of the ISS.

Fifty-one years after Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, and thirty-one years after the first Space Shuttle launch, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) issued a press release announcing an agreement with NanoRacks to "reserve space on the first commercial platform available for researchers outside the ISS in the extreme environments of space."

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization managing the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, today announced a deal with NanoRacks, LLC, to reserve space on the first commercial platform available for researchers outside the ISS in the extreme environments of space. In June, CASIS will issue a formal solicitation to the research community and private enterprise for their proposals to use this one-of-a-kind platform for anything from earth observation to materials, and biological sciences.

The deal, worth $1.5 million, enables NanoRacks, the provider of sophisticated shoe-box sized space research hardware, to begin construction on the external platform and be ready for flight as early 2013 – almost a year ahead of the original schedule. NanoRacks already operates unique platforms inside the U.S. National Lab with more than 60 payloads under contract. NASA recently gave NanoRacks permission to expand its operations to the Japanese Kibo module’s exposed facility.
 

By enabling NanoRacks to extend their plug and play “NanoLabs” outside the Station, CASIS is helping to bring a whole new generation of researchers to the ISS. The deal also fulfills part of the CASIS mission to enhance the capabilities of the ISS National Lab. By calling for the first of two research proposals in June via www.iss-casis.org, CASIS will have projects ready to fly with the platform, maximizing use of America’s premier space research facility in a timely manner.

How much does it cost?

According to the NanoRacks web site:

Our business model is like that of a no-frills airline. We have two basic U.S. prices, one for educational clients and one for commercial. We charge by the 1U–a 4 inch by 4 inch by 4 inch educational payload (1U) can be as low as $25,000. A 2U is twice that. A 2U by 1U is three times that. Commercial payloads start at $50,000 per 1U. We charge more for non-US payloads–we can discuss this with you if that is your situation.

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