Main Engine Cut Off

NextSTEP Pushes Forward to Ground Prototypes

NASA has selected 6 partners—Bigelow, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada, and NanoRacks (working with SSL and ULA)—to develop full-sized ground prototypes for deep space habitats. Other than it being the same old insiders club as always, there are some cool bits in here.

Most interestingly, the NanoRacks-SSL-ULA team—called the “Ixiom Team”—seem to be investigating a wet workshop idea:

…referred to collectively as the Ixion Team, will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study regarding the conversion of an existing launch vehicle’s upper stage, or propellant segment, into a pressurized habitable volume in space. The feasibility study will provide insight into this innovative and low-cost approach that can be used for any rocket system, including SLS.

Wet workshop concepts come about every so often, but always seem to fade after a bit of early excitement.