Friday August 23, 2019
Home Science & Technology US Space Comp...

US Space Company ‘NanoRacks’ Teams Up with Chinese Client to Make History

For a price, NanoRacks can help almost anyone, anywhere send an experiment or small satellite to the International Space Station in orbit around the Earth

0
//
NanoRacks
Astronaut Jack Fischer on the International Space Station with the experiment from the Beijing Institute of Technology. VOA
  • NanoRack is a Space Company in Houston, United States
  • The company helps in sending other experiments to the International Space Center (ISC)
  • NanoRacks teamed up with a client from China who were the first from the country to send an experiment to ISC

Houston, August 25, 2017: Imagine a post office for space. That is the job of U.S. space company NanoRacks. Just down the street from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, NanoRacks is one of many companies benefiting from the U.S. space program’s support for a broader range of commercial interests.

“There has been a shift in federal funding into more of this commercial space transportation program,” said David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute and professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston.

“What that has allowed these companies to do is essentially have an anchor client, an anchor customer and then build up their manifest and build up their client base and think of lots of new ways of accessing space for many different purposes,” Alexander added.

The space business

For a price, NanoRacks can help almost anyone, anywhere send an experiment or small satellite to the International Space Station in orbit around the Earth. The company made history this summer with a client from China.

“We’re all about democratizing access to space. It’s really important to me that we involve as many nations as possible,” NanoRacks Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Manber said.

The company has helped deliver space experiments and satellites of customers from 30 countries, including academic institutions in Eastern Europe, Peru and Vietnam.

The Beijing Institute of Technology, one of NanoRacks’ latest customers, became the first from China to have an experiment brought onboard the International Space station.

“They’re doing an experiment on DNA and how it mutates in microgravity,” Michael Lewis, chief technology officer of NanoRacks, said.

The research operation in China did not respond to VOA’s request for an interview, but NanoRacks’ Manber said findings from the Chinese experiment could have groundbreaking implications.

“They’ve shown abnormal results when DNA is subjected to space. That could mean, we can’t travel to Mars,” Manber said.

Getting Chinese experiment to ISS

Getting the Chinese experiment to the International Space Station was complicated because U.S. federal law prohibits NASA from working directly with China because of fears the Chinese could steal U.S. technology.

“First we brought it to the Obama administration. They were very concerned there was no ties to the People’s Liberation Army,” Manber said.

After two years, NanoRacks received approval from U.S. lawmakers.

A statement from NASA said, “NASA complied with all legal requirements to notify the Congress of this activity, and all of the ISS (International Space Station) partners approved the inclusion of the experiment from the Beijing Institute of Technology.”

However, there was one stipulation.

“We had to make sure that there was no technology transfer. No IT connection to the space station,” Lewis said. “We had a creative solution. We said, ‘OK, we’ll make sure that we plug in the experiment, and it’s not even connected data wise,’” he added.

Lewis said the self-contained autonomous Chinese experiment flew to the International Space Station on the SpaceX CRS-11 Dragon spacecraft. The experiment received only power from the space station and spent about three weeks there before returning to Earth.

“On the science side, a lot of us scientists would welcome the partnerships. There are other issues we don’t think about. Much of the Chinese space program is done through the military and the technology development they have gone through in the last few years, again, have been very successful,” Alexander said.

Aside from national security concerns, scientists and businesses are pushing for more international collaboration in space.

“You can’t do deep space exploration alone. The American government cannot do it without the American private sector, and America cannot do it without international colleagues. It’s too expensive. It’s too long term,” Alexander said. (VOA)

Next Story

IDC Says Huawei’s Temporary Reprieve Decision Depends on US Tech Firms

The US put Huawei in an Entity List in May which barred the US tech firms from selling components to Huawei without a special license

0
huawei
The President of USA insisted that the Chinese company was a threat to national security. Pixabay

Whether the US decides to extend the temporary reprieve that it granted to Huawei, allowing it to do business in the US, may depend a lot on what the American tech firms have to say on the issue, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

“This is about, in my opinion, as much about the pressure that US components suppliers are exerting on the government as opposed to say punishing Huawei,” CNBC quoted Crawford Del Prete, President at IDC, as saying.

The US put Huawei in an Entity List in May which barred the US tech firms from selling components to Huawei without a special license.

The US government, however, later removed some of the restrictions for a period of three months. The temporary reprieve granted to Huawei is set to end on Monday.

US President Donald Trump on Sunday cast doubt on the possibility of conducting any kind of business with Huawei.

huawei
The temporary reprieve granted to Huawei is set to end on Monday. Pixabay

“Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all,” Efe news quoted Trump as saying to the media on Sunday before departing from Morristown, New Jersey.

The President insisted that the Chinese company was a threat to national security.

Also Read: Pact of Cross Brand File Transfer Tech Among Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo

China on Monday urged Trump to allow companies in America to do business with Huawei.

“During the Chinese and US presidents’ meeting in Osaka, the US said it will allow US companies to supply Huawei. When and how will it honour its commitments? Concerns the US’ own reputation and credibility,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in Beijing. (IANS)