ESA Teams Up with Airbus and Voyager Space for Next Gen Space Station Successor
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a major partnership with Airbus and Voyager Space to develop the next generation space station, following the retirement of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2030. The collaboration aims to secure Europe’s continued access to space and advance astronaut missions and space-based research.
Starlab Space Station Poised for Launch in 2028
The Starlab space station, currently being developed by Airbus and Voyager Space, is a leading contender among several projects vying to replace the ISS. With an expected launch date as early as 2028, Starlab has garnered significant attention due to its partnership with Airbus, which has a proven track record in supporting European space missions.
ESA’s Role in Starlab
Under the agreement, ESA will evaluate the potential utilization of the Starlab space station for European missions and research activities. The agency intends to primarily employ Starlab for astronaut missions and space-based research, while also exploring the possibility of providing cargo and crew transportation services for the new space station.
Transatlantic Industry Initiative
Josef Aschbacher, the director general of ESA, expressed appreciation for the transatlantic industry initiative behind the commercial Starlab space station. Aschbacher highlighted the significant European industrial and institutional contributions that could be made to Starlab, emphasizing the station’s potential role in Europe’s continued presence in space.
Competition Among Space Station Contenders
Starlab faces competition from other space station concepts, such as Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef and Northrop Grumman’s modular, free-flying space station. All three projects have received funding from NASA, which will determine which contenders will receive further support.
Airbus’ Key Role
Airbus’ involvement in the development of Starlab is a significant advantage for Europe. The aerospace giant has a strong relationship with ESA, having previously supplied the European service module for NASA’s Artemis missions to the Moon. Airbus’ expertise and established connections are expected to benefit both the technical and business development aspects of Starlab.
In the race to create a successor to the ISS, the collaboration between ESA, Airbus, and Voyager Space positions Starlab as a leading contender. With an ambitious launch date and the support of established industry players, the future of European space exploration and research looks promising.