Have you ever heard of a company called Nanoracks? Maybe you've heard a thing or two about them in passing or maybe you are closely following all of the new developments with regard to space travel and you know exactly who they are. On the other hand, this might be the first time you've ever heard the name. Assuming that's the case, you’d probably like to gain a better idea of who they are and what they do. The short answer is that they repurpose hardware that's already in space in order to turn it into space stations. That particular answer is about as clear as mud, so unless you're already familiar with them you probably don't have a much clearer picture of what they do than you did when you started. If that's the case, it's okay. Here are 20 things about them that you probably don't already know. By the time you're done reading, you'll have a much better idea of who this company is and why they exist. As it turns out, it's definitely not your everyday business.
1. They plan to operate several space stations in the future
The company has solid plans to operate a number of space stations in the future. In fact, it's something that they've been planning for a number of years. If you think that all of this sounds like something that should be in some science-fiction movie, think again. Space travel has existed for decades and it's becoming increasingly more accessible to people in the private sector as opposed to being something that is operated by various governments. Nanoracks has been in the fight for some time and they continue to be one of the leading companies in the idea of space exploration.
2. They also have a plan to deal with space debris
If that's not enough to get your attention, they also have a plan to deal with space debris. Believe it or not, space debris is becoming a problem with increasing frequency. Most of it comes from other space missions where tools have been inadvertently lost or something has come off of either the International Space Station or another vehicle designed to take people into space, and is now free floating in space. In some cases, it is the direct result of old satellites that are no longer working, but which weren't brought back into the earth’s atmosphere. The problem is that this debris is affected by the magnetic pull of the earth and other planets. That means that space debris tends to congregate in space, in much the same way that it does in the ocean. That can prove to be a real problem when you're trying to explore specific regions of space. In addition, it makes it far more likely that some of this debris will eventually enter Earth's atmosphere and potentially cause a problem by impacting an area of the planet that causes injuries or a significant amount of damage. The company is working to effectively deal with space debris so that it doesn't become a bigger problem than it already is.
3. The company wants to help mitigate climate change here on Earth
The company does a lot to deal with things like space exploration and different types of research. That said, they also participate in a number of programs that are designed to help people right here on Earth. One of their biggest programs involves helping to mitigate climate change by exploring different solutions that can be employed to slow the progression of climate change right here on this very planet. By conducting various experiments in space, scientists are able to get a better handle on specific issues that exist as a direct result of climate change. That means that they're also better able to figure out how to handle these issues here on Earth.
4. They’re also trying to make sure Earth has enough water
One of the more specific ways that the company is helping to make things better right here on this planet is to research the different methods used to end water scarcity. Unfortunately, there isn't currently enough water to supply every individual on Earth with the amount of water that they need in order to be clean and healthy. Some areas are affected by this problem far more than others. The company is working through space exploration to find an answer to this problem, by looking at different methods that can be employed to increase the amount of water here on Earth. Of course, this has far-reaching benefits if it is successful. In addition to helping people right here, it's possible that their research could also help other individuals who are exploring different planets in the future, especially those planets which have an atmosphere that doesn't readily support life. In theory, this is the type of research that could eventually make it possible to explore planets that were once believed to be completely uninhabitable.
5. They’ve been offering payload services for years
The company has been working directly with NASA for years, offering payload services on more than 1,300 different projects. Over the years, those projects have ranged from microgravity research to satellite launches and virtually everything in between. The truth of the matter is that they have become the experts when it comes to any type of payload issue in low-orbit. If a government entity or private company needs to get something into space, this is the company that they usually contact because they're the ones who have both the experience and the knowledge to get it done right the first time.
6. They also developed the Bishop Airlock
Speaking of knowing how to get things done, this is also the company responsible for designing and implementing the Bishop Airlock, the first and only addition to the International Space Station since it was built. In short, the Bishop Airlock is an entirely new section of the International Space Station that was carried into space as a direct result of the payload services provided by Nanoracks. Thanks to its existence, it's now possible for more people to be present on the International Space Station at any one given time. It also provides the added flexibility of conducting additional research because there's more room to do it. If need be, the Bishop Airlock can be removed just as it was installed in order to conduct maintenance or add a new section that's even larger at some point in the future.
7. Their goal is to create a number of in-space platforms
All of this sounds very ambitious, but the company has plans that are even more so. While they have traditionally been involved with providing payload services for NASA and even some private companies that have been going into space more recently, their goal is to create a number of in-space platforms that can be used for research and exploration. Have you ever seen an episode of “Star Trek'' where they were traveling to a certain Starbase where there were hundreds or even thousands of people congregated, all for the purposes of learning more about that particular area of space? That is essentially what the company plans to do in the future. As a matter of fact, they already have a number of locations from which they operate. According to officials at the company, all but one of those locations is currently stationed here on Earth, with one additional location in space. If they have their way, there will be many more of these space-based locations in the future. In fact, traveling into space will eventually become as common as getting on an airplane and traveling across the country if they are ultimately successful in achieving their long-term goals.
8. They are responsible for Starlab
Years ago, there was a Russian space station called Skylab. Today, this company is building their own free-floating space station that is continuously manned called Starlab. You might think of it as a miniature version of the International Space Station, only it will have all of the most recently updated equipment at its disposal. The company not only designed Starlab, but they will also launch it into space. They're also the ones who will be responsible for keeping it manned at all times.
9. They have developed an important goal with the future launch of Starlab
The company has implemented a very important goal with the future launch of their free-floating space station, Starlab. In addition to being continuously manned, there are many unique things that will be happening there at any given point in time. As you might have already guessed, there will be a great deal of research that goes on around the clock. However, they also plan to run a full-fledged business out of the space station, with the intention of creating industrial tools that can then be used in other areas of space exploration. It marks the first time that a private company will set up a business that operates from space. This is much more than just a marketing gimmick. It is a method of creating tools and techniques that are effective for use in space travel because they are being used for problems that are being discovered in real time. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and that is precisely why this section of Starlab was set up. Of course, the success of this particular endeavor also helps to ensure that Nanoracks remains a viable company for years to come. This is one more avenue that they can use to ensure that they have the finances to do the types of research that needs to be done, both now and in the future.
10. They currently have up to four people in space at all times
Once Starlab is launched, it will be able to have a crew of four on it at all times. Of course, there's always the possibility that the crew size will grow over the course of time. This is especially true when you consider the fact that this is the same company responsible for producing the Bishop Airlock. In short, it means that they can simply expand the size of Starlab as needed.
11. They plan to officially launch Starlab within the next few years
Currently, the plan is to officially launch Starlab by 2027. That might sound like a lofty goal or perhaps it sounds like a long way off, but it's important to remember that they are making steady progress on the project that they plan to launch in about five and a half years. When you look at it that way, it doesn't seem all that far off at all.
12. Their main office has allowed for a close partnership with NASA
As previously mentioned, the company has a number of offices from which they operate. That said, the main office is located in Houston, Texas. Having an office in this area has traditionally made it easy for them to work more closely with NASA, as both companies are geographically close together.
13. The company has been in business longer than you might think
The company has been in business since 2009. That's a lot longer than most people probably think. It also proves that the company has staying power in an environment where most businesses would probably fail. That is precisely what has allowed this particular company to become an expert in the field of space exploration.
14. It’s had the same CEO since the day it began operating
Jeffrey Manber founded the company and also serves as its current CEO, a position that he has held since the company opened its doors. It's very rare to find a company whose CEO has remained in the same position for so many years in today's business world. That said, this business isn't really like anything else that exists.
15. They have more than a few employees
Currently, The business has roughly 75 employees that work for it on a full-time basis. That might sound like a lot, but when you consider the complexity of everything they do, it's a relatively small number of individuals. One thing you can definitely count on is that every one of these individuals is highly trained and at the top of their particular field.
16. They’ve partnered with another aerospace giant
In order to build and eventually launch Starlab, the company has partnered with another Aerospace giant, Lockheed Martin. The two of them plan to work together in order to build all the components and get Starlab successfully launched by its target date of 2027.
17. Voyager Space is also involved with the project
Voyager Space is the parent company of Nanoracks and they will also be heavily involved in the Starlab project. In fact, they will provide the majority of the financial backing for the project. They will also continue to generate financing for it once it has been successfully launched, up until a point in time when it becomes self-sufficient.
18. The company still works closely with NASA
The company has always worked closely with NASA and that relationship is still very strong today. In fact, some might even argue that it's stronger now than it was when they first started flying payloads to the International Space Station for NASA years ago. At the moment, they're working closely with NASA on a special program that will provide additional funding from NASA for projects like Starlab.
19. There’s a chance that Starlab will eventually replace the ISS
It's important to note that the International Space Station has been in operation for a very long time. As such, its operational expectancy is very much coming to an end. As a result, there is a better than average chance that Starlab will eventually replace it in its entirety.
20. The company also wants to build more permanent hubs throughout space
Of course, the company also wants to build a number of more permanent hubs that exist throughout space. It may be a long time before they achieve this goal, but they are one of the relatively few companies who believe that this can realistically be achieved. More importantly, they are making realistic progress in allowing this to become a reality as opposed to something that people can only daydream about.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee