On May 10, Vast announced in collaboration with SpaceX, their plans to launch Haven-1, the world’s first private commercial space station. Haven-1 will initially act as an independent small space station,and then connected as a module to a larger space station under development.
Vast and SpaceX are planning to launch Haven-1 on a Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than 2025, followed by Vast-1, the first crewed mission to Haven-1. A SpaceX Crew Dragon will carry four astronauts for a 30-days mission on LEO orbit.
Vast already secured an option for a second human spaceflight to the station aboard a Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX will also provide crew training, mission simulations and spacesuits.
The 14-ton, 3.8-meter wide module will provide 70 cubic meters of pressurized volume and will carry 150 kg of pre-loaded cargo mass. A docking port is situated at one end and a large window on the opposite one. Vast will also conduct the world’s first spinning artificial gravity experiment with Haven-1.
Vast is selling four crewed seats for the Haven-1 mission, which can include both international space agencies and private customers.
VAST’s ambitious plans
Vast is a young space company, founded just two years ago by the American entrepreneur Jed McCaleb and based in Long Beach, California. Since its debut Vast, set itself as a possible future leader in the sector of commercial space stations.
At the beginning of 2023, Vast announced the relocation to a newly-built 11.100 square meter facility where Haven-1 will be designed and manufactured. Shortly after, Vast announced the acquisition of the space startup Launcher that is developing the Orbiter payload host and the E-2 engine. You can find out more info in our article about Orbiter SN1.
After Haven-1 and other possible Falcon 9-class modules, Vast is planning to launch in 2028 a bigger space station module relaying on SpaceX’s fully reusable Starship super heavy-lift rocket. This is an important step towards the development of a “100-meter-long spinning stick space station that provides various gravitational environments including Earth, Mars, Moon, and asteroid gravities”.
The artificial gravity station will be assembled in space with seven Starship-launched modules. The spinning stick station will accommodate up to 40 astronauts and is scheduled to be launched in the late 2030s. In a longer-term project, Vast aims to operate dozens of artificial gravity and zero gravity space stations across our solar system.
The speed with which the company is growing is quite remarkable considering that Vast didn’t benefit from the first round of NASA funding awarded to three companies. In 2021 Blue Origin, NanoRacks and Northrop Grumman received a total of $415 million for the development of future commercial space stations that would replace the International Space Station by the end of this decade.