AURORA SPACE STATION
The Problem - ISS Retirement
The International Space Station (ISS) is presently the only viable destination for humans in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). With a $150B construction cost, and $4-5B yearly operational cost, participating countries have paid an extraordinary price for their shared access.
With the ISS now over 20 years old, NASA and the participating International Partners will need to deal with growing financial, technical and logistical challenges until the station is retired at the end of the decade.
There are presently no plans by NASA or the International Partners to build a replacement space station in LEO. In fact, NASA intends to retire the ISS and purchase space habitat capability from commercial providers, such as Orion Span.
Solution - A Space Station as a Service
To address the impending retirement of the International Space Station, Orion Span plans to provide a multi-purpose space station platform for LEO by the mid 2020s. Aurora Station is Orion Span’s baseline concept, and will be the first of the "Aurora-Class" of space station platforms. Unlike the ISS, the Aurora platform will be smaller, more versatile, more cost-effective, and faster to deploy. Aurora Station will be made available via leasing agreements with government organizations around the world, including sovereign space agencies. In addition, Orion Span will offer to design and build custom space station solutions intended to be owned and operated by government agencies.
Our design emphasizes operational readiness in a single launch, thereby avoiding substantial complexity associated with on-orbit assembly and integration.
This single-launch-to-operations philosophy allows fast deployment of discrete, feature-complete space habitats.
Although compact, Aurora-class vehicles can have an exterior diameter of up to 4.5M to ensure compatibility with existing launch vehicle options.
Once launched, a self-contained module can be placed into operation immediately.
Our modular solution will provide anywhere from 30m to 160m of pressurizable volume, as well as capacity for internal and external payloads and other facilities.
Space station platforms can be fabricated to meet a variety of objectives, including payload operations, research, manufacturing, storage and logistics, and deployment of a human presence in LEO or beyond.
These vehicles can be designed to either operate as independent free-fliers, to automatically dock to each other, or to attach to existing space stations in order to augment their capabilities.
As larger launch vehicles become available, larger Aurora-class stations can be flown to meet market demand.