Voyager Space and Airbus Announce Joint Venture to Build and Operate Starlab


Voyager Space (Voyager), a global leader in space exploration,  and Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus), the largest aeronautics and space company in  Europe, today announced an agreement paving the way for a transatlantic joint venture to  develop, build, and operate Starlab, a commercial space station planned to succeed the International Space Station. The US-led joint venture will bring together world-class leaders in  the space domain, while further uniting American and European interests in space exploration. 

“We are proud to charter the future of space stations with Airbus,” says Matthew Kuta,  President at Voyager Space. “The International Space Station is widely regarded as the most  successful platform for global cooperation in space history, and we are committed to building  on this legacy as we move forward with Starlab. We are establishing this joint venture to  reliably meet the known demand from global space agencies while opening new opportunities  for commercial users.” 

Voyager was awarded a $160 million Space Act Agreement (SAA) from the National  Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in December 2021 via Nanoracks, part of  Voyager’s exploration segment. Part of NASA’s Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development  Program, this SAA sets the foundation to create Starlab, a continuously crewed, free-flying  space station to serve NASA and a global customer base of space agencies and researchers.

The program’s mission is to maintain continued human presence and American leadership in  low-Earth orbit (LEO). Today’s announcement builds on an agreement made public in January  2023, where Voyager selected Airbus to provide technical design support and expertise for  Starlab. 

“With a track record of innovation and technological firsts, Airbus prides itself on partnering  with companies that are looking to change history,” said Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Space  Systems at Airbus. “This transatlantic venture with footprints on both sides of the ocean  aligns the interests of both ourselves and Voyager and our respective space agencies. This pioneers continued European and American leadership in space that takes humanity forward.  Together our teams are focused on creating an unmatched space destination both  technologically and as a business operation.”

In addition to the US entity, Starlab will have a European joint venture subsidiary to directly  serve the European Space Agency (ESA) and its member state space agencies. 

This announcement follows a major design milestone in Starlab’s development, the Systems  Requirements Review (SRR), which baselines the major space systems, technical readiness,  and ability to meet NASA’s mission and safety requirements. The Starlab SRR, was completed  in June 2023 in coordination with NASA’s Commercial LEO Development Program team. 

“Today marks a major step forward for the future of commercial space destinations,” continues  Kuta. “We are proud to have NASA’s trust to build the replacement for the ISS, a partnership  that expands Starlab’s ecosystem to global space agencies, and a team that is mission driven  and dedicated to reimagining the future.” 

The implementation of the joint venture will be subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

About Airbus 

Airbus pioneers sustainable aerospace for a safe and united world. The Company constantly innovates to  provide efficient and technologically-advanced solutions in aerospace, defence, and connected services. In  commercial aircraft, Airbus offers modern and fuel-efficient airliners and associated services. Airbus is also a  European leader in defence and security and one of the world’s leading space businesses. In helicopters,  Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions and services worldwide. 

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