Boeing and NanoRacks have formed an alliance to build a new commercial airlock designed to help the U.S. increase its capability to deploy small satellites, equipment and payloads from the International Space Station.
The companies plan to attach the NanoRacks Airlock Module to the ISS U.S. segment in 2019, Boeing said Monday.
Boeing will develop and install the airlock’s hardware – Passive Common Berthing Mechanism – that works to link the ISS’ pressurized modules.
Mark Mulqueen, ISS program manager at Boeing, said NanoRacks’ commercial airlock will help both companies to meet customers’ demand for payload deployments.
The proposed commercial airlock would be in addition to the airlock the U.S. currently uses on the ISS Japanese Experiment Module.