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NanoRacks plans to turn rockets into space outposts

NanoRacks space outpost
Artwork shows a Centaur upper stage that’s been converted into an outpost. (NanoRacks Illustration)

Don’t call them commercial space stations, or gateways, or portals. NanoRacks is laying claim to a different moniker for its new breed of refurbished orbital modules.

“We like ‘outposts,’” NanoRacks CEO Jeffrey Manber told GeekWire.

The space outposts that Manber has in mind, at least to start out with, are converted Centaur upper stages — the rocket boosters that sit atop the first stage of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket.

NanoRacks’ concept calls for refurbishing the insides of a Centaur upper stage after it’s finished delivering an Atlas payload to its proper orbit, so that it can be reused as an orbital habitat. The work could be done by a crew on the International Space Station, or by a robot.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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