Vast, a space station startup, has announced its intention to launch what it claims will be the first commercial space station. The company has signed a contract with SpaceX to launch a free-flying module called Haven-1, which will be visited by the Crew Dragon mission Vast-1.
Haven-1 will provide 70 cubic meters of pressurized volume and 15 kilowatts of power, and the visiting crew will be transported with the payloads and consumables needed for their stay. The module is designed to be a precursor for space stations that Vast proposes to develop with Starship.
While the hardware hasn’t been built yet, the company is working on prototypes of the structure at its Long Beach, California headquarters.
Vast’s president, Max Haot, emphasized the importance of demonstrating the company can create the first commercial space station in orbit. Max joined Vast in February after his space transportation startup, Launcher, was acquired by the company.
The Haven-1 module is designed to fit inside a Falcon 9 payload, with a length of 10.1 meters and a diameter of 3.8 meters. The module will be kept active while docked to the Crew Dragon, making use of its life support.
Vast’s Long Beach headquarters includes an 11,100-square-meter manufacturing facility, where the company is working on prototypes of the structure. Some key subsystems, such as avionics and propulsion, will be based on versions that Vast plans to continue flying on Orbiter space tugs.
Right now, the company is starting to market the space station facility to possible customers. Haot believes that international space agencies represent the largest potential market, followed by individuals and companies interested in research or in-space manufacturing.
The successful launch and operation of Haven-1 will be a significant milestone for Vast and the commercial space industry as a whole. If successful, it will pave the way for ambitious projects in the future, such as development of larger space stations that can support longer stays and more extensive research.