Credit: Vast
At ILA Berlin, ESA and Vast signed a Memorandum of Understanding for future Vast space stations. The agreement outlines the parties’ intention to foster human spaceflight, science, technology and commercialization development and explore collaboration in low Earth orbit destinations other than the International Space Station.

The collaboration will initially focus on exploring opportunities for access to space for Europe through the Vast Space Stations. These could include:

  • Access to the Vast Space Stations for ESA and its Member States, for astronaut missions and research activities as well as commercial business development.
  • Supporting European industry to supply subsystems and equipment for future Vast Space Stations.
  • Vast making use of future qualified European LEO cargo and/or crew transportation services, at market rates and commercially viable terms and conditions, also as a means for offsetting future ESA Astronaut Missions.
  • Vast and ESA jointly supporting European industry in getting certified for docking to future Vast Space Stations.
European astronauts have been going to the International Space Station for over 20 years, offering European scientists access to a weightless environment via ESA’s Columbus laboratory.

The signed memorandum of understanding reflects ESA’s ambition for a smooth and efficient transition from the International Space Station towards sustained exploitation of human and robotic infrastructures in low Earth orbit after 2030, including through commercial services. “Today ESA has further proven its determination to play a crucial role into the further development of the LEO economy in space for Europe and European citizens,” explained ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher, “This signature underlines once again ESA’s ambition to modernise itself and to meet the demands of the next era of the space economy,”. He added “Our teams are looking forward to working closely with VAST teams to ensure the European interests and our collective role in space exploration.”

“Vast is building Haven-1 with European technology to enable ESA astronaut missions starting in 2026. Today’s signature is the first step to providing ESA and its member states with access to space for research and science to benefit life here on Earth,” said Max Haot, CEO of Vast.

About Vast

Vast, a pioneer in space habitation technologies, was founded in 2021 to expand humanity across the solar system with artificial gravity crewed space stations. Vast’s first station, Haven-1, is launching no earlier than 2025 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 and is expected to be the world’s first commercial space station. The first crewed expedition, Vast-1, will visit Haven-1 in a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft for up to 30 days. Haven-1 provides commercial and government customers with payload opportunities for science, research, and in-space manufacturing. Additionally, the team will perform a Lunar artificial gravity demonstration on Haven-1. Vast is headquartered in Long Beach, California.

Source: Vast / ESA

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.