Thales Alenia Space has announced that the shell for the Bishop airlock module, the first-ever commercial airlock that will operate on the International Space Station (ISS), is ready to ship to the NanoRacks integration facility in Houston, Texas.
Bishop is owned and operated by NanoRacks. This airlock module will be a permanent commercial module on the ISS. It can also be removed from the ISS for use on future commercial platforms under the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program. Bishop will offer five times more satellite deployment volume than opportunities available on the ISS today. It is scheduled to launch on the SpaceX CRS-21 service mission in January 2020.
Thales Alenia Space produced and tested the critical pressure shell for Bishop, as well as various secondary structures, including the Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) shields with multilayer insulation (MLI) panels, the power and video grapple fixture support structure and other structural components.
NanoRacks is responsible for project management, mechanical and avionics design engineering, safety, operations, quality assurance, mockups and crew training, as well as the final assembly, integration and testing of the Bishop airlock.
“We’re extremely proud to have reached this key milestone,” said Walter Cugno, Vice President, Exploration and Science at Thales Alenia Space. “Working with NanoRacks is a great opportunity.
We’re bringing to this program over 40 years of experience in the design and production of advanced technology solutions connected with the International Space Station and will continue to provide these capabilities for future business opportunities in new commercial markets.”