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Vast, a Californian startup that is one of the newcomers to the world of private spaceflight, plans to use the SpaceX rocket for the launch of what it hopes will be the first commercial space station in the world and to ferry passengers from and to the orbiting outpost.
Vast did not disclose the cost of their agreement announced on Wednesday. CNN was not given any comment from the company leadership. It is not clear what a visit to the proposed station will cost, whether it be for tourists or professional astronauts.
Jed McCaleb - the founder and CEO at Vast, who made his fortune in cryptocurrency - said in a press release that the company was 'thrilled' to embark on the journey of launching Haven-1 and Vast-1, the first crew of the first commercial space station in the world.
McCaleb stated that he will invest $300 million from his own pocket in the project. He does not intend to look for outside investors until Vast has built its space station and is able to generate revenue. He also said that the project is likely to cost him more money than $300 million.
Vast may not be the first private company to launch a space station into orbit. Vast has stated that it is aiming to launch as soon as August 2025. The development of a space station is a complex task that requires extensive testing, as well as key technologies such a life support system.
McCaleb stated that Vast has an advantage as it can use the life support systems developed by SpaceX for its Dragon spacecraft which will be used to transport passengers to the space station.
McCaleb, a CNN reporter, said that Vast would equip its Haven-1 station with consumables such as oxygen or other materials to sustain life. The company will not have to create a new life support system.
Other companies, including some with NASA backing, are also developing private space stations. NASA and its partners are looking to use a private space station developed by a third party to replace the International Space Station. The International Space Station has been occupied in low-Earth-orbit since 2000.
The Biden-Harris Administration, officials from Canada, Japan and the participating countries of European Space Agency have authorized the ISS's operation until 2030. The other major partner, Russia, said that it would only commit to participating in the International Space Station until 2028.
SpaceX has not disclosed how much of the $300,000,000 McCaleb allocated for the Haven-1 project will be used to launch the rocket. Vast has not disclosed financial details of its agreement with SpaceX.
Max Haot is the president of Vast. Haot was the CEO of Launcher, an aerospace company acquired by Vast last February. We're all very much in agreement.
Vast's single-structure Haven-1 station can be launched atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This is the vehicle SpaceX has used for over a decade to launch its workhorse vehicles.
SpaceX will train four members of Vast-1's crew, who have yet to be named.
In a press release, the company stated that it would sell up to four crewed tickets on the first mission to Haven-1. The company said that 'domestic and international space agencies as well as private individuals who are involved in science or philanthropic endeavors' will be among the expected customers.
The company initially plans to have Haven-1 operate autonomously, floating freely in Earth's orbit. The company will attach the spacecraft to a larger station as a module later.
Vast's ultimate goal is the creation of a massive orbiting station with artificial gravitation that could be launched on a SpaceX Starship, a rocket that was still in its development stages and exploded in midair during its first test flight in April.