Bishop Airlock Module

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The NanoRacks Bishop Airlock Module is a commercially-funded airlock module intended to be launched to the International Space Station on SpaceX CRS-21 in August 2020.[1][2] The module is being built by NanoRacks, Thales Alenia Space, and Boeing.[3] It will be used to deploy CubeSats, small satellites, and other external payloads for NASA, CASIS, and other commercial and governmental customers.[4]


Under the International Space Station's designation as a facility of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, NanoRacks has an agreement with NASA to send payloads from academic and private sources for installation on the ISS' experiment racks or deployment from the equipment airlock in the Japanese Kibo module. Limitations on NASA's use of the JAXA facility created a bottleneck, prompting NanoRacks to develop their own airlock to increase satellite deployment capabilities.[5] A Space Act Agreement between NASA and NanoRacks to develop a private airlock was signed in May 2016,[3] and the NanoRacks–Boeing plan to build and launch the module by 2019 was approved in February 2017.[4] Originally manifested to launch on SpaceX CRS-19 in late 2019,[6] the module was later re-manifested to launch on SpaceX CRS-21.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Thales Alenia Space reaches key milestone for NanoRacks' airlock module". Thales Alenia Space (Press release). 20 March 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  2. ^ Clark, Stephen (2 August 2019). "SpaceX to begin flights under new cargo resupply contract next year". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b "NanoRacks, Boeing to Build First Commercial ISS Airlock Module". NanoRacks. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Garcia, Mark (6 February 2017). "Progress Underway for First Commercial Airlock on Space Station". NASA. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  5. ^ Berger, Eric (27 January 2016). "To boost commercial activity, NASA may add private airlock to ISS". Ars Technica. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  6. ^ "NanoRacks Commercial Space Station Airlock 'Bishop' Completes Critical Design Review, Moves to Fabrication". NanoRacks. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 22 August 2019.