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Earth Orbital Destination

Page history last edited by Ken Davidian 15 years, 11 months ago

This information and set of links is copied and pasted from Clark Lindsey's RLVNews.com website, specifically the Space Business - Human Spaceflight - Habitats page:


Commercial Orbiting Facilities

Bigelow Aerospace modules relative size
(Image: Bigelow Aerospace)
Relative sizes of the Bigelow Aerospace habitat modules.

Operations schedule (ref.):
    Genesis I - launched July 2006
    Geneis II - launched June 2007
    Galaxy - this will be built for ground studies but not launched
    Sundancer - planned launch in 2010, docking & propulsion module added in 2011,
    BA-330 - launch in 2012 and docked with the Sundancer module

There has only been very limited success in getting companies to subsidize microgravity experiments on the ISS. The high costs of access and of operations on the station have prevented the projects from getting very far. See the ISS Commercialization section.

NASA signed agreements with a company called Dreamtime to exploit the multimedia possiblies on the ISS but the firm went bankrupt. SpaceHab signed an agreement with the Russian Energia company to develop the "Enterprise" module, which would be dedicated to multimedia and other commericial activities but that project also seemed to go into limbo.

Boeing once announced plans to convert a spare Russian module to a commercial module but that also never got off the ground.

However, independent projects to develop space habitats has made considerable progress, especially that of Bigelow. Below we list some of these projects.

Bigelow Aerospace
This company is developing plans for a space tourism infrastructure that includes orbital hotels. Owner of Budget Suites of America, a $600 million (est.) privately held company, Robert Bigelow is planning a long term project to develop space tourism with a committement of several hundred million dollars.

See the BA Growth Chart for the series of modules planned that will lead to the launch of crew capable habitats by 2010. Their first prototype module - Genesis I - was successfully launched on July 12, 2006. Genesis II was launched on June 28, 2007.

In August of 2007, they announced that instead of launching the Galaxy module in 2008, they would do only ground studies with it and instead accelerate development and flight of the Sundancer crew capable module. They did not announce when Sundancer will fly but could be as early as 2010.

Price plan as given by Robert Bigelow in April 2007:

  • A full-scale module, with 300 cubic meters of volume, would cost
    • $88 million a year or
    • $7.9 million a month to lease;
    • half a module would cost $54 million a year or
    • $4.5 million a month.

See Space Transport News web log for the latest update. Do a search there on "Bigelow" to obtain a list of postings with links to stories about the project.

More information in the Space Tourism section.

The Ask a Rocket Scientist service answers "questions on Bigelow Aerospace, Genesis I and II, Mission Control and anything else related to our company and spaceflight".

Interview with Robert Bigelow on The Space Show on August 24, 2006.

The company is also supporting the America's Space Prize, which will be awarded to the US team that successfully flies a reusable orbital manned vehicle by 2010.

Previously, Bigelow sponsored the Bigelow Prize competition to reward those who helped " the promotion and/or use of space for private enterprise purposes without government ownership."

The winner of the year 2000 award was Spacehab:. Spacehab Wins $10,000 Prize for Role in Space Commerce - Company Puts Money into Scholarship Fund - Spaceref.com - June.27.01. This program has apparently been discontinued.

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