Lockheed Partners With NanoRacks to Seek Commercial Payload Concepts for Orion Capsule

Lockheed Martin has teamed up with NanoRacks to seek concepts of commercial payloads that could fly on upcoming missions of NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Lockheed said Friday the market assessment marks the initial step toward its vision to deliver commercial opportunities to deep space.

Mike Hawes, Orion program manager and vice president of human space exploration for commercial civil space at Lockheed’s space business, said offering companies access to the moon and deep space aims to encourage a new breed of engineers as well as advance innovation and science.

“We’ve seen that model work on the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit, and now, working with NanoRacks, we’re applying that same successful model to deep space,” Hawes noted.

Jeffrey Manber, CEO and co-founder of NanoRacks, said the company will combine its understanding of the market and clients’ needs with Lockheed’s capabilities in deep space vehicle design, mission management and engineering to establish a foundation for commercial opportunities in support of future lunar and deep space missions.

Lockheed said it has no agreement with NASA on the implementation of the proposed market analysis.

The assessment comes as Lockheed considers making room for commercial experiments to fly aboard Orion that is set to launch in 2020 for its initial flight test, Exploration Mission-1, and take off in 2022 for the EM-2 crewed mission.

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