Thales Alenia Space Marks Key Milestone for the Nanoracks Airlock Module


The shell for Bishop is ready to be shipped for the first-ever commercial Airlock that will operate on the International Space Station.

March 20, 2019 – Turin, Italy – Thales Alenia Space, JV between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%, is pleased to announce that it’s shell for NanoRacks’ Airlock Module is ready to be shipped to NanoRacks’ integration facilities in Houston, Texas.

The NanoRacks Airlock Module (“Bishop”) is the first-ever commercial Airlock that will operate on the International Space Station. Owned and operated by NanoRacks, Bishop will be both a permanent commercial module onboard the International Space Station, and also a module capable of being removed from the Space Station and used on future commercial platforms under the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program. Bishop will offer five times the satellite deployment volume than current opportunities available on the Space Station today. The Airlock is manifested to launch on SpaceX CRS-21.

Thales Alenia Space produced and tested the critical pressure shell for Bishop, as well as various secondary structures, including the Micrometeoroid Orbital Debris (MMOD) shields with Multi-Layer Isolation (MLI) panels, the power and video grapple fixture support structure and other structural components.

NanoRacks oversaw, and continues to lead, the project management, mechanical and avionics design engineering, safety, operations, quality assurance, mockups and crew training, and the final assembly, integration and testing of the Bishop Airlock.

“We are very proud for this key milestone,” says Walter Cugno, Vice President, Exploration and Science at Thales Alenia Space. “To cooperate with NanoRacks, it’s a very good opportunity for us make available our over 40 years of experience in the design and production of high-technology solutions linked to the International Space Station and provide these capabilities for future business opportunities in new commercial markets.”


In April 2018, NanoRacks announced an International Business Development Partnership with Altec and Thales Alenia Space to pursue International Space Station opportunities. Bishop, NanoRacks’ commercial airlock module, is considered a part of Altec and Thales Alenia Space’s space product portfolio.

About NanoRacks

NanoRacks LLC, an XO Markets company, is the world’s leading commercial space station company. NanoRacks believes commercial space utilization will enable innovation through in-space manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, fiber optics – and more, allow for transformational Earth observation, and make space a key player in finding the solution to Earth’s problems.

Today, the company offers low-cost, high-quality solutions to the most pressing needs for satellite deployment, basic and educational research, and more –in over 30 nations worldwide. Since 2009, Texas-based NanoRacks has truly created new markets and ushered in a new era of in-space-services, dedicated to making space just another place to do business.

In 2017, the Company announced their long-term plans via the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program. This program is dedicated to the repurposing of the upper stages of launch vehicles in-space and converting these structures into commercial habitats, both humanly and robotically tended, throughout the solar system.

About Altec

ALTEC – Aerospace Logistics Technology Engineering Company- is a public-private company owned by Thales Alenia Space Italy and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). In seventeen years of activity (March 2001) ALTEC has established itself internationally as the Italian center of excellence for the provision of engineering and logistics services to support operations and utilization of the International Space Station and the development and implementation of planetary exploration missions.

Today, taking into account the evolution of the international space framework and the shareholder strategies, ALTEC has a strengthening and broadening of the tasks in the aerospace industry, with a stronger focus to the commercial activities and the emerging Space Economy. With its 80 employees, all highly skilled and qualified technicians, ALTEC is a key part of the space sector and in particular a focal point of attraction for the local economy. www.altecspace.it

Altec Media Inquiries: Daniela Souberan, daniela.souberan@altecspace.it

About Thales Alenia Space

Combining 40 years of experience and a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, Thales Alenia Space architects design and deliver high technology solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments, institutions and companies rely on Thales Alenia Space to design, operate and deliver satellite-based systems that help them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere, help observe our planet, help optimize the use of our planet’s – and our solar system’s – resources.

Thales Alenia Space believes in space as humankind’s new horizon, which will enable to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of about 2.5 billion euros in 2018 and has around 8,000 employees in nine countries.

Thales Alenia Space – Press Contacts:

Sandrine Bielecki Phone: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94 sandrine.bielecki@thalesaleniaspace.com
Chrystelle Dugimont Phone: +33 (0)4 92 92 74 chrystelle.dugimont@thalesaleniaspace.com
Cinzia Marcanio Phone:+ 39 06 41512685 cinzia.marcanio@thalesaleniaspace.com

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