The routine utilization of the unique environment of outer space has come of age. At long last the International Space Station is open for business, while several private companies are also committed to operating low-earth orbit platforms. And, cargo access to low earth orbit is multiplying.
NanoRacks is committed to helping stimulate the market demand across all orbiting platforms by creating a commercial climate conducive to allowing new users, from students to researchers, from government space agencies to individuals, to conduct research, design experiments, tinker, make mistakes, and maybe realize wonderful breakthroughs in low-earth orbit and beyond.
Our philosophy is to bring together three concepts as our driving force: low-cost, standardization of hardware, and understanding the customer. Our corporate structure includes a Houston team steeped in the experience of working payload development for every launch vehicle and space stations from Mir to ISS.
Our business development team includes first-hand experience on commercial marketing of the Mir space station to both aerospace industry and non-industry customers. Together we are all focused on simple designs using off the shelf technology and equally important, communicating in the language that commercial customers require.
Our Platforms are the ultimate ‘Plug and Play’ allowing small payloads in the CubeSat form factor to be plugged into the Platforms, providing interface with the Space Station power and data capabilities. The CubeSat form factor launched a revolution in satellites design and how we think about space–we like to believe that in space, small is the new big. And we want to take the power of standardization, the efficiencies of commercialization, advances in component miniaturization and bring that to on-orbit operations.
We began the company in September of 2009 by signing our first Space Act Agreement with NASA. Within six months, our first privately funded Platform (NR-1) was launched on STS-131. NR-2 followed on STS-132 and in August of 2010 astronaut Shannon Walker installed the Platforms in the U.S. National Lab.
Within six months our customer log grew to include over 50 customers, from high schools to universities, from pharmaceutical research organizations to non-ISS partners. This commitment to space utilization has propelled us to embark on plans to develop a wide range of on-orbit facilities and increasingly powerful Platforms. Future NanoRacks products will remain focused on the low-cost and simplicity in design of our first Platforms.
We believe that the dreams for space exploration will remain politically and economically difficult to achieve unless an energized customer base emerges. We are determined on being part of this next exciting step in the exploration of space.