A company was just tasked to build the station's life support systems.
Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of military and aerospace contractor Raytheon Technologies, is working on environmental control and life support technologies for a "privately owned and operated low Earth orbit outpost," according to SpaceNews.
There's plenty of money being poured into developing a commercial presence in space right now. The small firm was awarded a $2.6 million contract by a mysterious unnamed customer — a sign, in spite of its opacity, that the race to commercial orbit is heating up.
On Life Support
The Collins work includes machines capable of controlling both temperature and pressure levels in space enabling a prolonged human presence, according to SpaceNews' reporting.
The subsidiary already has plenty of experience to draw from. In fact, it's behind the International Space Station's current water recovery system.
Shawn Macleod, Collins Aerospace’s director of business development, told SpaceNews that "as more private industry destinations become available, the demand for life support systems will increase."
Axiom, Is That You?
There is a non-zero chance that the unnamed contractor is Axiom Space, according to SpaceNews' analysis. The Houston-based, privately funded space company is planning to construct its own commercial space station.
The company also announced the crew for the world’s first entirely-private mission into orbit back in January, on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
But whether Axiom Space is behind the Collins contract remains unclear. The company declined SpaceNews' request for comment.
READ MORE: Collins Aerospace to provide life support for privately run LEO outpost [SpaceNews]
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