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Thales Alenia Space announces ISS airlock milestone
Shell for Bishop airlock module. © Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space announces ISS airlock milestone

Thales Alenia Space (TAS) reports that the shell for the Bishop airlock module for the ISS is ready for shipment to the NanoRacks integration facility in Texas.

Thales Alenia Space (TAS), the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), reports that the shell for the Bishop airlock module is ready for shipment to the NanoRacks integration facility in Houston, Texas.

The NanoRacks airlock module — dubbed "Bishop" — will become the first-ever commercial airlock to operate on the International Space Station (ISS). Owned and operated by NanoRacks, Bishop will be a permanent commercial module on the ISS. It can also be removed from the ISS for use on future commercial platforms under the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program.

According to TAS, Bishop will offer five times more satellite deployment volume than opportunities available on the ISS today. It is scheduled to launch on the SpaceX CRS-21 service mission in January 2020.

TAS produced and tested the critical pressure shell for Bishop, as well as various secondary structures, including the Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) shields with multilayer insulation (MLI) panels, the power and video grapple fixture support structure and other structural components.

NanoRacks is responsible for project management, mechanical and avionics design engineering, safety, operations, quality assurance, mockups and crew training, as well as the final assembly, integration and testing of the Bishop airlock.

TAS joined the commercial airlock programme in February 2018, alongside a number of other partners, including Boeing, which is responsible for fabricating and installing the Airlock’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM).

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