NASA Space

Nanoracks hires a former NASA official to manage commercial space station efforts

Nanoracks, a commercial space services startup, has engaged a former NASA official who was most recently involved in the Artemis program planning to manage its commercial space station development activities. Marshall Smith, senior vice president in charge of the commercial space stations at Nanoracks, was hired on August 2. Smith, who spent more than 35 years at NASA Agency, most notably as deputy associate administrator in charge of the systems engineering and integration in Directorate of Human Exploration and Operations Mission, left the agency at the end of July.

Smith will be in charge of the company’s Outpost program, which aims to transform launch vehicles’ upper stages into modules that can be utilized for the in-space manufacturing or homes and ambitions to create free-flying commercial space stations in his new position. Smith will be in charge of the company’s new Huntsville, Alabama branch.

In a statement, Jeffrey Manber, CEO of Nanoracks, stated, “I’ve gotten to understand Marshall very well over the last many years and have come to admire his grasp of how to transition the NASA legacy into the commercial sector.” “To put it another way, Marshall understands. He recognizes that private-sector innovation and cost-cutting are critical to maintaining American leadership in space.”

Smith stated in the announcement, “I was pleased to discover how much Nanoracks has discreetly accomplished in promoting the usage of in-space platforms, and I hope to move both the new Huntsville office and Nanoracks ahead. To assure a vibrant path for the commercial space stations and platforms.”

Nanoracks is one of the first companies to exploit the International Space Station (ISS) for commercial purposes, collaborating with NASA to send cargo to the station and use it as a launch platform for cubesats. Bishop, a commercial airlock designed by Nanoracks, was placed on the station in 2020 December. Several companies have expressed interest in creating private space stations to replace the International Space Station.

Smith’s last position at NASA was as a senior engineer for the directorate in charge of human spaceflight. He was responsible for translating high-level aims into program objectives and needs. He was previously the director of lunar exploration programs, where he oversaw the construction of the lunar Gateway, the Human Landing System, as well as other lunar exploration projects.

In a deal that concluded in May, Voyage Space Holdings purchased a controlling investment in Nanoracks, bringing Nanoracks into its portfolio of space firms. Smith stated that he would collaborate closely with Voyager to maximize the utilization of those companies. In a statement, he stated, “There is a necessity for the vertically integrated NewSpace corporation with an entrepreneurial zeal that will lead the progress of our space projects by scaling up successful smaller space companies.”

This post was originally published on Downey Magazine