US company Spacehab, which provides modules for Space Shuttle missions, is proposing a series of modular spacecraft, called Apex, to provide commercial cargo transport to the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA is encouraging private companies to provide cargo services for the ISS. The Apex could eventually be transformed into a space tourist vehicle or a fully manned system, says Spacehab. A range of non-recoverable and recoverable Apex craft weighing from 260-12,300kg (570-27,100lb) would be carried on boosters ranging from the Boeing Delta IV and Lockheed Martin Atlas V to smaller rockets such as SpaceX’s Falcon.

Mike Kearny, Spacehab president and chief executive, says “there will be a basis for a commercial investment” in ISS cargo services. Other applications could include robotic satellite repairs, Earth observation and scientific research.

Source: Flight International