Commercial Company Plans Privately-Funded Space Station | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Airborne On ANN

Oshkosh Day One

Oshkosh Day Two

Oshkosh Day Three

Oshkosh Day Four

Oshkosh Day Five

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Oshkosh Day One

Oshkosh Day Two

Oshkosh Day Three

Oshkosh Day Four

Oshkosh Day Five

Tweet Us The Coolest Things You See @OSH16!
#OSH16Coolest!

It's Alive!: AirVenture 2016 Innovation Preview on Vimeo!

It's Alive!: AirVenture 2016 Innovation Preview on YouTube!

Wed, Jun 09, 2010

Commercial Company Plans Privately-Funded Space Station

Hopes To Have Assembly Underway In 2014

The mockups look like big, white watermelons sitting on a factory floor, but what they represent could be home to as many as 36 people at a time in space.

Bigelow Aerospace is developing what it expects to be the first commercial space station. Built of multiple layers of an expandable Kevlar-like material with the outer layer coated with a micrometeoroid and orbital debris shield, Bigelow hopes to have paying customers aboard the Sundancer space station in five years. Company founder Robert T. Bigelow says he thinks those customers would primarily be nations that are not able to build their own space station from the ground up, so to speak

The New York Times reports that Bigelow already has two test modules in orbit, launched in 2006 and 2007. The Las Vegas, Nevada-based company has a business plan to buy as many as 15-20 rocket launches beginning in 2017, and each subsequent year after that, providing a lot of business for companies like SpaceX on which President Obama has placed much of the responsibility for moving forward with the U.S. space program. Bigelow thinks for the foreseeable future, his company is the only potential buyer for slots on manned space flights other than NASA.

Bigelow made his fortune in real estate, including the Budget Suites of America hotel chain. He has so far spent $180 million of his own money on the private space station concept, and says he's willing to spend nearly twice that again to see the program through. There are expansion plans for the current factory, which is surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. The company currently employs about 100 people, but that would grow as well if the project is successful.

The design is based on the TransHab modules that were being developed by NASA for a possible Mars mission, and have been "absolutely verified," according to former NASA senior design engineer Dr. William Schnieder who did the work at the Johnson Space Center.

One major hurdle that remains is that there is not currently a vehicle that can economically transport astronauts to and from the station once it's in orbit. Bigelow at one point offered a $50 million dollar prize to a company that could develop an orbital spacecraft, but it expired in January with no one attempting to claim it. He is currently working with Boeing to build on the design the aerospace giant was developing for NASA.

Bigelow told the Times that he can operate a space station much more efficiently than NASA and its international partners. He says that while the logistics of running a space station are different from a hotel chain, the principles are largely the same, and that he would hire the people with the necessary skills to fix the inevitable glitches, as well as supply the station with such staples as food, water, and air.

Meanwhile, NASA is showing a renewed interest in an inflatable module for ISS, and it's a project on which Bigelow is consulting, because, he says, "we can do it much more economically."

FMI: www.bigelowaerospace.com

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 07.28.16-Oshkosh Day 4: Mike Huerta Addresses Oshkosh, King Schools

Also: Evolution Aircraft, Sporty’s/Savvy Breakdown Assistance, Comprehensive Jack Pelton Interview, Part 4 FAA administrator Michael Huerta came to town at EAA AirVenture 201>[...]

Dynon Avionics Certifies Outstanding Osh16 Special Event Coverage!!

Leading Edge Sport Avionics Company Pushes The Envelope For Both Sport and General Aviation Markets! Founded in 2000, Dynon Avionics’ mission is to create the best avionics a>[...]

Pilot Training System Teaches Us The Way To Oshkosh 2016 Special Coverage!

Pilot Training System Has A Knack For Educating Aviators... Via Innovative Programs Established in 2011, Pilot Training System’s (PTS) online flight-training solution provide>[...]

Only Sporty's!!! Sporty's Pilot Shop Helps ANN Cover Oshkosh 2016!

Sporty's Pilot Shop Is A Pivotal GA Resource! Sporty’s Pilot Shop was founded over 50 years ago by a flight instructor, and ever since has been for pilots and by pilots. Hal >[...]

Trig Avionics Stacks The Deck To Provide ANN's OSH16 Special Event Coverage

Trig Excels In Affordable Avionics That Fit YOUR Panel! Trig Avionics are experts in the design and manufacture of compact and innovative certified avionics for light aviation. Our>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC