ASU NewSpace

Habitats Projects

The NewSpace program is continually fostering new research avenues and partnerships between ASU and next-generation commercial space enterprises. The following is an overview of recent collaborations, innovations and accomplishments.

Orbital Reef

Partners: Boeing, Redwire, Genesis, Amazon, IBM, ASU
CLD Award: $130 million

Crew: 6-10
Power: ?    Volume: 830m3

Lead Institutions:

Mission/Vision: “Space station business park with straightforword access for all.”
Intended Capabilities: “Transport logistics leased space, utilities, berths scale with market demand. Help with system hardware development, robotic and crew-tended operations and servicing & habitation amenities. 4-6 permanent crew.”
AZ Engagement: ASU leads the Orbital Reef University Advisory Council, a global consortium of 14 universities (including Stanford & Oxford) with expertise in space and microgravity research. The Council will “focus academic community needs, stimulate research, advise novice researchers, evolve standards of conduct, and lead STEM outreach.”


Target Dates: 2026 – Sierra Crewed Dream Chaser orbital test flight/ 2027 – Orbital Reef operational

Progress (SAA gets them through CDR):
’22 Jul – Hired CIO Ken Venner (who was ’12 – ’18 SpaceX CIO).
’22 Aug – SDR passed: station concept meets functional and performance requirements.
’22 Sep – Applications opened for Reef Starter Innovation Challenge with TechConnect


Partners: The Ohio State University, ASU/MILO, Univ. of Michigan, Purdue Univ.
CLD Award: $160 million

Crew: 4
Power: 60kW    Volume: 340m3

Lead Institutions:

Mission/Vision: “Multifunctional Station for commerce & innovation, business and science.”
Intended Capabilities: “Inflatable habitat, robotic arm for servicing cargo and external payloads, Ohio State Univ.’s George Washington Carver science Park state of the art lab will host advanced research and science in 4 first core topic and an open workbench.”
AZ Engagement: Part of disscussion with Ohio State on GWCSP research plans.


Target Dates: 2027 – Starlab Operational

Progress (SAA gets them through CDR)
’22 Sep – Hilton “helping design accommodations and ground-to-space astronaut experince”
’22 Oct – MOU’s with 5 Latin American countries during IAC
’22 Oct – Plans for George Washington Carver Science Park’s terrestrial component to be established at the Ohio State Univ.

Northrop Grumman Commercial Station

Partners: Thales Alenia, Star Harbor 
CLD Award: $125.6 million

Crew: 4-6
Power: ?    Volume: 150-300m3

Lead Institutions:

Mission/Vision: “Space-as-a-service commercial LEO station to continue work of the ISS
Intended Capabilities: “Heritage-heavy from Cygnus & HALO for rapid deployment & modular expansion to meet the growing needs of the space economy. Multiple docking ports, crew habitats, labs, movie production, crew ailocks, and facillities capable of providing artifical gravity, in-space manufactuing, external payloads platform support and science & research support.”
AZ Engagement: Northrop Grumman’s “launch business components” have facillities in Phoenix. Perhaps ASU could consult at some point with this station’s institutional team on lessons-learned and best practices from the orbital Reef University Advisory Council once it gets underway?


Target Dates: 2027 – NG Commercial Space Station operational

Progress (SAA gets them through PDR)
’22 Sep – N.Grumman and Star Harbor partner on market research & crew training.
’22 Oct – Iterate off Cygnus heritage; Lower tech risk and reliable; Differs from flashy first-time competitors’ hardware and design

Axiom Station:

Partners: Thales Alenia 
CLD Award: $140 million

Crew: TBD
Power: ?    Volume: ?

Lead Institutions:

Mission/Vision: “Construction of the world’s first commercial space station from modules attached to ISS to independence.”
Intended Capabilities: “Hub-1 has 4 crew quarters, Payload accommodations, and crew amenities/life-support, Research & manufacturing capabilities, Hub-2, Lab, & Power Tower” Also will provide astronaut candidate training and certifcation; expert mission planning transportation, provisions microgravity experiment, design and managemtn of orbital time”
AZ Engagement: Axiom and ASU are both executive-level academic institution member). Perhaps ASU could consult at some point with the Axiom Station team on lessons-learned and best-practices from the Orbital Reef University Adviosry Council once it gets underway? Additionally, ASU’s growing expertise across robotics-teaming & human systems engineering could add value to axioms training prgrams?


Target Dates: 2025 Q4 – first modules launched to ISS/ 2026 (6-8 months later) – second module launched

’22 Sep – MOU with Saudi space commission to fly Saudi astronauts.
’22 Sep – IMOU’s with Turkey for astronaut trip; Canada, Hungry & New Zealand for research
’22 Sep – Awarded Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) next-gen spacesuit contract 

Future Neighbors In LEO

as of Nov. 1, 2022 Jonathan P. Roll

NASA Lifecycle / Review Phases 

Jonathan P. Roll

Jonathan is a space industry Research Analyst at Arizona State University’s NewSpace Initiative. He graduated in December, 2022 with a Master’s Degree in Science and Technology Policy from ASU’s College of Global Futures, where his academic focus was on the confluence of geopolitics and the commercialization of outer space. His capstone work was a long-form policy recommendation report to the U.S. federal government analyzing China’s advances in the space industry, particularly in relation to their globe-spanning Belt and Road Initiative. Before graduate school, Jonathan spent 9 years leading high-revenue business units in the Los Angeles fitness and entertainment industries and helped manage a winning political campaign for a U.S. Congresswoman from Virginia. He received a B.A. in Political Science in 2009 from George Mason University with additional coursework at Harvard Extension, Oxford University-New College, and UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Growing up on U.S. Air Force bases abroad, he has remained a life-long competitive athlete, stage performer, and community advocate.