Aviation Week has published a terrific article on the Shuttle Discovery flight, STS-131, that will take the innovative microgravity research NanoRacks platform and two "Cubelabs" to the International Space Station next month.
The flight is more than a simple delivery of hardware built right here in Kentucky, exciting as that is, but "could be a harbinger of how the U.S. hopes to do business in space in the years to come."
In addition to space station work, NanoRacks also also discussion with a other space companies about the use of the standard interface across several different space vehicles, orbital and suborbital, "so the customer can concentrate on developing the experiment or other hardware to be flown."
That's key. A focus on something other than the sheer technical challenge of getting to and staying in space represents an exciting new development in the commercialization of space. Working with NanoRacks, Kentucky Space is not only carving out a place for Kentucky-built and integrated suborbital and orbital payloads, but participating directly in the growth of space as a business frontier.
The managing partner for NanoRacks, Jeffrey Manber, also spoke on camera recently while in Lexington about the upcoming flight. Please check it out.