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Private Space Station Possibilities May 30, 2012

Posted by Mark Flavin in Space Ventures, Technology.
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Image Credit: Bigelo Aerospace
BA-330 Space Module

It is refreshing to see all the activity in private launch services to allow more access to space beyond what NASA ever could or would. A recent announcement of a collaborative effort between SpaceX and Bigelo Aerospace has put a new twist to the possibilities of private space ventures. SpaceX has a huge lead over any of their competitors in developing a human rated launch system able to loft seven people into orbit & safely return them to earth. Now they are teaming up with Bigelo Aerospace, a company with no competitors in providing on orbit human habitats for any purpose.

It’s a sure bet that the price for such services; reaching low earth orbit, will be way beyond what I can afford but the trend is what is so exciting. For the first time in history someone other than a government is talking about a space station! How cool is that. Bigelows concept of a soft, inflatable structure for space habitation is unique. The BA 330 pictured is 330 cu. me. of usable space that is pressurized and has all the attitude control and module avionics to make it an autonomous space station. Even better is that the modules can be joined to make a much lager facility for research, space tourism or anything a customer can imagine.

Bigelow already has had  two test modules in orbit for several years gathering important data on long term exposure to the harsh environment of space. I can’t wait to see what these two innovative companies will do in concert to give us mortals the ability to become astronauts too.