Deep space exploration

Xplore partners with Nanoracks for commercial deep space exploration – TechCrunch

Most of the time, when we talk about commercial space and space startups, the attention is relatively close to home – extending to orbit, and possibly the Moon. But the Seattle-based startup Xplorer wants to further expand the privatization of space, through the development of spacecraft and a platform designed for commercial missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, extra-orbital asteroids and beyond.

Xplore builds spacecraft capable of carrying small payloads (between about 70 and 150 pounds) to deep space destinations. These could include sensors including optical cameras, tools for measuring temperature and other space weather, hyperspectral imaging tools, or even other smaller spacecraft on behalf of a range of business customers. The company began operations in 2017, co-founded by Lisa Rich and Jeff Rich (who also founded and managed venture capital firm Hemisphere Ventures) and plans to fly its first spacecraft, destined for the Moon, from 2021.

Nano racks is a commercial space company with an established history in the development and deployment of commercial spacecraft, including small satellites launched from the International Space Station (ISS), with payloads from customers such as the European Space Agency, NASA, the German Space Agency and many others. In 2016, Nanoracks opened the first commercial test platform, installed outside the ISS to allow private companies to conduct experiments in microgravity and radiation exposure from space. More recently, it announced that it would launch technology for the first time to demonstrate the cutting of structural metal in space – technology that could one day open up great opportunities in the reuse of discarded spacecraft for reuse and manufacture in space.

Xplore’s spacecraft can hold multiple payloads, and Nanoracks will be able to use its experience to help prepare and integrate cargo for Xplore customers, enabling a faster, more efficient launch with less lead time required.

Xplore also plans to fly Earth orbital missions, focusing on rapid response capabilities and managing everything for customers in terms of mission parameters, spacecraft and operations – everything beyond design. payload, basically. With more launch and capacity providers in line, there is certainly a growing need for mission logistics and payload launch services – and extra-orbital destinations make Xplore an attractive offering that could pave the way for different types of business and business research.