Vast and SpaceX plan to launch the first commercial space station in 2025
The duo will have to compete with Blue Origin and other big rivals.
Another company is racing to launch the first commercial space station. Vast is partnering with SpaceX to launch its Haven-1 station as soon as August 2025. A Falcon 9 rocket will carry the platform to low Earth orbit, with a follow-up Vast-1 mission using Crew Dragon to bring four people to Haven-1 for up to 30 days. Vast is taking bookings for crew aiming to participate in scientific or philanthropic work. The company has the option of a second crewed SpaceX mission.
Haven-1 is relatively small. It isn't much larger than SpaceX's capsule, and is mainly intended for science and small-scale orbital manufacturing for the four people who dock. Vast hopes to make Haven-1 just one module in a larger station, though, and it can simulate the Moon's gravity by spinning.
As TechCrunch notes, the 2025 target is ambitious and might see Vast beat well-known rivals to deploying a private space station. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin doesn't expect to launch its Orbital Reef until the second half of the decade. Voyager, Lockheed Martin and Nanoracks don't expect to operate their Starlab facility before 2027. Axiom stands the best chance of upstaging Vast with a planned late 2025 liftoff.
There's no guarantee any of these timelines will hold given the challenges and costs of building an orbital habitat — this has to be a safe vehicle that comfortably supports humans for extended periods, not just the duration of a rocket launch. However, this suggests that stations represent the next major phase of private spaceflight after tourism and lunar missions.