Voyager Space today announced they plan to enter a teaming agreement with Northrop Grumman to develop fully autonomous rendezvous and docking technology for Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft and provide cargo resupply services for the Starlab space station, which will be built and operated under a transatlantic joint venture between Voyager Space and Airbus Defence and Space.
The companies will further explore opportunities to strengthen the development of Starlab, a free-flying space station, and the enhanced Cygnus system, to serve the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Commercial Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Development Program (CLDP). The parties also are exploring opportunities for Northrop Grumman to provide engineering services in support of the design and development of Starlab.
Under this teaming agreement, Voyager Space and Northrop Grumman agreed to a framework under which Northrop Grumman will perform services to upgrade its flight-proven Cygnus cargo vehicle with a fully autonomous docking system to support Starlab missions. Autonomous docking, the ability for two spacecraft to dock independently from human controllers, is a critical technology enabling complex in-orbit and deep space operations.
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft will be utilized to deliver pressurized cargo to Starlab over an initial five-year period to support future human spaceflight missions. The Cygnus spacecraft has completed 19 missions, delivering over 138,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). Cygnus has already demonstrated several advanced capabilities, including the ability to function as a laboratory while docked to ISS, deploy satellites, and reboost the station’s orbit.
“We are fully committed to the future of commercial LEO. Our new role with Starlab supports NASA’s initiatives to encourage commercial space station development as part of a growing LEO economy,”
said Steve Krein, Vice President of Civil and Commercial Space at Northrop Grumman.
“This collaboration is a major step forward for the Starlab program,”
said Dylan Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Voyager Space.
“Northrop Grumman’s technical capability and proven success in cargo resupply services will play a pivotal role as we accelerate Starlab’s development. We’re proud to be supporting advanced docking systems that push LEO transportation operations forward and advance critical technology for deep space exploration. We are thrilled to have Northrop Grumman on our Starlab team.”
Voyager and Northrop Grumman’s teaming follows recent news from Voyager and Airbus announcing an agreement to form a transatlantic joint venture to develop and operate the Starlab space station, ensuring a continued human presence in LEO and launching before the ISS is decommissioned.