Spacehab and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have signed an agreement which provides the US company with access to the International Space Station (ISS).

In exchange for its contribution to the ISS, Canada is entitled to space on the ISS to conduct experiments. The CSA is letting half of its allocated space on the ISS to Canadian companies. US company Spacehab, which develops habitable modules and logistics facilities for research and space station supply services, has been granted the use of one of CSA's experiment lockers on the ISS from May 2001, but only if it partners a Canadian company or creates a subsidiary in Canada.

This deal makes Spacehab the only commercial company with direct access to ISS research opportunities, say the partners.

Spacehab is providing the CSA with protein crystal growth services on board a future Space Shuttle mission in exchange for access to the ISS. Spacehab is flying a crystal growth facility built by the University of Alabama, USA, to stimulate pharmaceutical and industry participation in space research.

• The US Government has approved a plan to allow NASA to provide commercial services on the Space Shuttle, with revenues to be returned to NASA's budget for its government programmes. NASA sees the concept as a testbed for commercialising the International Space Station.

Source: Flight International