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NanoRacks aims to offer research accommodations on ISS exterior by year's end

18 July 2014

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By the end of 2014, Houston-based space services company NanoRacks plans to expand its payload accommodation services with the installation of an external platform at the International Space Station that can be booked by researchers on a commercial basis.

"We finished manufacturing about a month ago... and it's undergoing testing at the Johnson Space Center [in Houston] right now," Jeffrey Manber, managing director of NanoRacks, said in a 10 July phone interview.

The NanoRacks External Research Platform, which is about twice the size of a microwave oven, was made for NanoRacks by Astrium North America for about $10 million, Manber said. It will be launched to station aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus space freighter during a cargo delivery mission slated to lift off 21 Oct. Manber said.

After that, "give it about a month and we should be open for business by the end of the year," Manber said. The platform will be able to handle "about four to six customer payloads, depending on the size, at any one time."

Source: Space News

Image credit: NASA - Jeffrey Manber, Managing Director of NanoRacks

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