Posted: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Our first 7 years have flown by at NanoRacks. Today, we celebrate the seventh anniversary of our first platform ever flown to the International Space Station- the NanoRacks Frame-1 launched on STS-131.
What started as a technology company operating from a friend’s Houston garage has manifested into one of the world’s leading provider of commercial access to space. We at NanoRacks are proud to continue building on our same mission from day one: democratizing access to space.
Our journey began with our first two research platforms- NanoRacks Frame 1 and 2, and the customers quickly followed. We then added MixStix for basic research, and then grew to launch our Plate Reader and Centrifuge for advanced science applications. We then built the NanoRacks External Platform – the first-ever commercial gateway to the extreme space environment.
Next came our biggest market success, which leverages one of the original intents of the International Space Station: Satellite deployment. Today, we operate as the leading provider for CubeSat deployment from the International Space Station having deployed over 150 CubeSats to date. This is a major accomplishment for the whole team at NanoRacks as our satellite program has shown a vital role for space stations in a maturing market. We are proud of our role in facilitating the growth and development of at least four startup companies, including Planet Labs, Spire, NanoAvionics, and GomSpace- all who started with their first CubeSats via NanoRacks. And now there is a core business of organizations seeking to utilize the unique advantages of a space station deployment. Whether “Stash and Deploy” - where the customer picks the time of deployment for satellite stored on station, to launching complex satellites in the gentle environment of station cargo ships, or for the development of a greater sophistication in on-orbit manufacturing
As always, the NanoRack’s hardware has been funded by our investors, with no funding from the U.S. Government. What’s more, we have uniquely worked ways to “pay-back” NASA for use of on-station resources, thereby pushing public –private partnerships to commercial levels previously unseen in the space station community.
Today, we not only celebrate our past, but also our future. We are investing the future of commercial space exploration. We’re partnering across the industry – from payload integration with our friends at Blue Origin to building the NanoRacks Airlock Module with Boeing Aerospace, we’re paving the way for U.S. industry leadership to the stars and back.
We look forward to developing our Ixion concept throughout 2017 with our partners at Space Systems Loral using the Atlas V launch vehicle Ixion utilizes an original NASA idea from Wernher von Braun – reuse, and repurpose, the upper stages of launch vehicles. We’re maximizing each part of the launch vehicle and changing the way we think about hardware in space: there’s no need to burn everything after one use.
We’re also investing in technology to increase efficiency and decrease dependence on launch- from the “Stash and Deploy” concept to on-orbit manufacturing from commercial platforms, we’re making sure NanoRacks is at the front lines for all of our customers’ in-space needs.
It hasn’t been easy. Our decision to launch new companies, such as our educational sister company “DreamUp,” perplexes those looking for a one-shot effort. However, DreamUp is already the number one in-space education company. It is our goal to build a family of companies that meet the in-space needs of our growing customer base, whether in low-earth orbit, cis-lunar or on to Mars. With customers from more than 25 nations, ranging from high schools to space agencies, from corporations to universities, we are doing something right!
My personal goal is to have us involved with numerous commercial platforms and space stations, with crew and without, in differing orbits and locations, in the nearest future. Wouldn’t that be cool?
No one can be sure what exactly the next seven years will hold, but they can be sure that NanoRacks will be there opening the doors to space each and every day.
Thank you to all of our customers who have made running our business possible, and our friends at NASA who continue to allow us to leverage existing government hardware and services to help grow a new commercial market place.
We’ll see you in orbit—
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