SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will launch both the Haven-1 (space station) and Vast-1 (human spaceflight) missions.
1. Private space station
California-based startup Vast Space joined forces with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to start planning the construction of the first commercial space station. Vast Space will launch its Haven-1outpost aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to low-Earth orbit in August 2025, the companies announced on 10 May. After the first launch, the space startup will sendoff Vast-1, a four-person expedition to the new station that could last up to 30 days. Similar to Haven-1, Vast-1 will launch atop a Falcon 9, and its astronauts will ride on a SpaceX Dragon capsule.
“Vast is thrilled to embark on this journey of launching the world’s first commercial space station, Haven-1, and its first crew, Vast-1,” Vast CEO Jed McCaleb said in a press release.
We are grateful to SpaceX for this exciting partnership that represents the first steps in Vast’s long-term vision of launching much larger, artificial gravity space stations in Earth orbit and beyond.Jed McCaleb, Vast CEO
Founded in 2021, Vast Space is building the world’s first low-cost, artificial gravity crewed station so people can live and work in space for long periods of time without the adverse effects of zero-gravity.
2. Artificial gravity
Vast was founded 2 years ago but its ambitious stands high as the startup wants to develop a 100-meter-long multi-module spinning artificial gravity space station launched by SpaceX’s Starship transportation system. The experiment would be conducted on a commercial space station with Haven-1.
“A commercial rocket launching a commercial spacecraft with commercial astronauts to a commercial space station is the future of low-Earth orbit, and with Vast we’re taking another step toward making that future a reality,” said Tom Ochinero, Senior Vice President of Commercial Business at SpaceX.
3. High-level customers
Vast is selling up to four crewed seats on the inaugural mission to Haven-1, expecting domestic customers, international space agencies and private individuals involved in science and philanthropic projects. The crew will be trained by SpaceX on Falcon 9 and the Dragon spacecraft. Other training includes emergency preparedness, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations such as docking and undocking with Haven-1 for return to Earth.
The current laws for commercial space travel vary depending on the country in question. However, as the private space industry expands and matures, regulatory frameworks are likely to continue evolving to address emerging challenges and opportunities in areas such as space tourism, satellite constellations and resource utilization.
4. Replacing the ISS
This business venture represents the first time in history that a commercial space station company has both a contracted launch for its space station and a visiting human spaceflight mission. With the retirement of the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of 2030, NASA said it wants at least one commercial station to be up and running in low Earth orbit before that date. In 2021, the US space agency awarded a total of $415 million to three private teams led by Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman. Axiom Space, another business player in the new space race, is also planning to launch several modules to the ISS in the next few years.