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Bigelow Aerospace Fast tracking Launch of Habitable Space Station Section

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posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 11:24 AM
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Following the successful launch and deployment of two inflatable space modules, on Monday the owner and founder of Bigelow Aerospace announced plans to move ahead with the launch of its first human habitable spacecraft, the Sundancer.



The decision to fast-track Sundancer was made in part to rising launch costs as well as the ability to test some systems on the ground, company CEO Robert Bigelow said in a press statement.

The Sundancer module will provide 180 cubic meters (590.5 cubic feet) of habitable space and will come fully equipped with life-support systems, attitude control and on-orbit maneuverability, as well as reboost and deorbit capability. This larger module – sporting a trio of windows – could support a three-person crew and be on orbit in the second half of 2010, Bigelow told Space News in March of this year.


SOURCE:
Space.com


This is very exciting, since it means we'll start seeing orbital hotels sooner rather than later.

Bigelow Aerospace has been very efficient in the last few years, not only were they
several years ahead of schedule last year, but now there going to skip one of the
prototype modules and launch the next generation one instead.

I expect that by the time NASA launches the Moon return trips, the first Bigelow
orbital Hotels will either be in orbit or near completion.


Comments, Opinions?




posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 12:33 PM
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Good news indeed for private space companies.

iori_komei, I was wondering how Bigelow was planning to get people to and from his space hotels. In another thread, I just entered a post regarding NASA's C.O.T.S. program (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services), with which NASA hopes to get private companies involved with launching Crews and Supplies to the Space Station by 2010. In my research, I read that Bigelow was also contracting with the same companies (namely 'Rocketplane Kistler' and 'SpaceX') as NASA to provide this service to his hotels. Have you heard anything more about this, or is he planning on using the Russians as his transport.

[edit on 8/15/2007 by Soylent Green Is People]



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 02:24 PM
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I've not actually heard or read about how he actually plans to get people to the
places when they are constructed.

I think it's probably not something he or anyone in his company really thought
was something that needed to be figured out right away either, since it really is
progressing faster than anyone would have imagined.


I suspect that if no one is offering services at the time the first hotels open,
they may contract some Russian company or other Eastern European space launching nations.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 03:40 PM
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Actually, Bigelow has been in talks with Lockmart/ULA since at least last fall regarding an agreement to provide launch services to Bigelow stations. Bigelow seems to anticipate as many as 16 Atlas V launches each year - which, if it should pan out, would be great news for commercial spaceflight in general, Lockheed/ULA and Bigelow specifically, and anyone who wants to see a more affordable EELV market.

Actually, the Atlas seems to be pretty popular among nascent commercial spaceflight interests. SpaceDev is also working (at admittedly a conjectural level at this point) with Lockheed to launch their Dream Chaser vehicle on a Atlas V as well, probably a 431 variant. The Dream Chaser could then be used to transfer crew and cargo to one of Bigelow's stations or - perhaps - the ISS.

Of course, both of these concepts are contingent on man-rating the Atlas V, but the available literature seems to suggest that this is a relatively straightforward and - at least as these things go - affordable process.



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