The first commercial airlock is heading to the International Space Station later this year | The Verge

Bishop_Testing.0 The first commercial airlock is heading to the International Space Station later this year | The VergeNanoracks’ Bishop airlock undergoing testing | Image: Nanoracks

Later this year, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will take off from central Florida, carrying a large metal cup destined to be attached to the outside of the International Space Station. The hardware is a first-of-its-kind commercial airlock, designed to get payloads and other materials from inside the pressurized space station out into the vacuum of space.

The airlock is the product of aerospace company Nanoracks, which helps private customers get access to space. Up until now, the company has created smaller space-bound hardware, such as standardized research boxes that customers can use to conduct experiments in the microgravity environment of the space station. It’s also developed its own satellite deployers that are used to shoot tiny…

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