With NASA planning to deorbit the ISS in 2030, it makes sense that plenty of other companies are already looking for ways to launch the first private space station. Exactly who will take that spot in the history books is unknown, but it could very well fall to Vast and SpaceX, who have partnered together to launch Haven-1, a commercial space station, as early as 2025.
NASA has already spoken in length about its plans to rely on commercial space stations to continue carrying out missions well after the International Space Station has returned to Earth. If Haven-1 were to launch in 2025, that would give the station a good few years of lead before the ISS is out of commission, allowing them to really hone in on any deals they want to make.
Of course, the launch of the first private space station is important for a number of reasons. Despite the ISS orbiting our planet for over 24 years, it has spent the last 22 of those years continuously occupied, with astronauts studying various endeavors from the safety of the station. Any commercial stations that NASA hopes to use to replace the ISS will need to prove similar levels of reliability.
The private space company says that it intends to launch its space station aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, and that it will then carry astronauts to the facility aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. The plan was shared in an announcement on Wednesday, May 10. Haven-1 will work off an aggressive schedule, Vast’s founder Jed McCaleb told ArsTechnica.
The company says that the partnership with SpaceX is paramount to making its goals viable. That’s because the Haven-1 station will launch inside the Falcon 9. Additionally, the first private space station launch in 2025 will rely on a Crew Dragon spacecraft to provide the station with part of its life support systems.
SpaceX is continuing to ramp up its reach in the space sector, with the recent Starship launch garnering excitement despite its eventual destruction before reaching orbit. Seeing a company pushing for the launch of a private space station so quickly is encouraging, too, because NASA will badly need something to replace the ISS when it deorbits at the end of this decade.