Monday, August 13, 2007

Bigelow To Launch Human Habitable Space Station Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Image: Model of a future Bigelow space station, Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

With the recent success of both Genesis I and II, Bigelow Aerospace is quickly moving the human species from gazing at the stars to living among the heavens.

Faced with skyrocketing launch costs (due to massive inflation), Bigelow has decided to skip its "galactic phase," and instead launch a space station that may give way towards human habitation.

(Bigelow Aerospace) This dramatic rise in launch costs has forced us to rethink our strategy with Galaxy. Due to the fact that a high percentage of the systems Galaxy was meant to test can be effectively validated on a terrestrial basis, the technical value of launching the spacecraft — particularly after the successful launch of both Genesis I and II — is somewhat marginal. Therefore, we have decided to expedite our schedule yet again, and are now planning to move ahead directly with Bigelow Aerospace’s first human habitable spacecraft, the Sundancer.

We still intend to construct and test the Galaxy spacecraft and/or various parts of it in order to gain familiarity and experience with critical subsystems. However, by eliminating the launch of Galaxy, we believe that BA can move more expeditiously to our next step by focusing exclusively on the challenging and exciting task presented by the Sundancer program.

If Bigelow is able to launch a habitable space station, they will in effect break the bureaucratic glass ceiling by shattering the myth that only governments can create orbital outposts, let alone finance them.

Although Bigelow has not indicated whether they will consider placing a human within the space station, allowing a person to reside inside this inflatable home would signal a new era for NewSpace, if not for our species as a whole.

Related: Space Adventures Courting Bigelow Aerospace

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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