Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) could transport Japanese astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) under a memorandum of understanding it has signed with the Japanese Manned Space Systems corporation (JAMSS).

RpK expects to have demonstrated a crew transportation system early in the next decade using its Kistler-1 launcher, which it is developing under the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services demonstration programme.


©Rocketplane Kistler

 Above: RpK's K-1 at the Woomera, Australia launch site

"The K-1 launch vehicle shall provide a key service to JAMSS and the ISS user community. Having readily available commercial transportation critical to attracting users for Japanese investment in ISS facilities," says JAMSS managing director Kazuhide Todome.

Todome's company was established in 1990 and has worked with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the Japanese Experimental Module, a laboratory to be carried to the ISS by Space Shuttle next year, JAXA's cargo supply ship H-II Transfer Vehicle and Shuttle related activities.