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NanoRacks names its space outpost team

Orbital outpost
An artist’s conception shows a Centaur upper-stage booster that’s been outfitted to become an orbital outpost. (NanoRacks Illustration)

It takes a village to raise an space outpost, and NanoRacks’ array of villagers includes Stratolaunch as well as Olis Robotics, the startup formerly known as BluHaptics.

NanoRacks, which is headquartered in Texas, today listed those two Seattle-based companies among its partners for a NASA-funded study focusing on the future of commercial human spaceflight in low Earth orbit.

The study is one of 13 that were commissioned by NASA in August as part of its drive to commercialize orbital operations by 2025. That drive could involve handing over the U.S. segment of the International Space Station to private-sector management, or developing brand-new orbital platforms.

NanoRacks has proposed retrofitting the spent upper stages from United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rockets and its yet-to-be-built Vulcan rockets to create habitable outposts. The company unveiled its plan for the first outpost, dubbed Independence-1, in April.

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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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