NanoRacks’ commercial gateway to space is officially open for business. The NanoRacks External Platform (NREP) has been placed outside of the International Space Station (ISS) on the JEM Exposed Facility.
The self-funded NREP is the first-ever commercial gateway-and-return to the extreme environment of space. Following the CubeSat form factor, payloads can now experience the microgravity, radiation and other harsh elements native to the space environment, observe earth, test sensors, materials, and electronics, all while having the opportunity to return the payload back to Earth.
“Free flyers are now not the only option,” says NanoRacks External Payloads Manager, Kirk Woellert.
“With NREP, a customer can do just about anything they can with a free flyer, but now have the opportunity to return those materials to Earth at competitive prices and understand the effects of the space environment. This will completely transform the way we understand the true effects of microgravity.”
The External Platform was manufactured by Airbus whose Houston office also works with NanoRacks’ on customer development.
For NanoRacks this is the Company’s first major step for owning and operating major commercial hardware in low-Earth orbit.
“Three years ago, our investors had a strong belief that it was worth investing millions in Station utilization,” says Jeffery Manber, CEO. “Already our customers are so pleased by this first commercial opportunity to work outside of the Space Station.”
NanoRacks would like to thank the astronaut crew, JAXA, NASA, and our own operations team for all the work done to install the NREP, and to transfer the hardware and payloads from the JEM Airlock to the JEM Exposed Facility.