Monday, 10 December, 2018

Plan to launch inflatable 'space hotel' in 2021

Bigelow space station Bigelow Space Operations
Nellie Chapman | 23 February, 2018, 02:44

To move forward with his plan, Bigelow said his two 55-foot-long inflatable modules, called B330-1 and B330-2, will be launched in 2021.

Bigelow said, 'We will spend millions of dollars this year to drill down on a conclusion as to what the global space market is going to look like.

Bigelow Aerospace will continue its part in producing space hardware, while BSO will be marketing its services in low-Earth orbit, which is an area that is 250 miles above the planet, to space tourists, corporations, and nations.

When it comes to space stations, Bigelow says his biggest competitors are NASA and China-a reminder that for all the new investment and efforts to drive down the costs of space access, only nations wield the resources necessary for costly activities in space.

BSO was officially established previous year, but it started hiring only last month, Bigelow said. "Private enterprise could turn it into a space hotel".

An entire space a single launch. It has been in talks with a number of countries, including some International Space Station partners, about using the station.

"They are offering very attractive terms and conditions and features that the commercial sector is going to have a disgusting time trying to compete with", he said.

"That's a huge disadvantage that exists today", said Bigelow. The modules built by Bigelow expand once they are deployed in orbit.

Bigelow Space Operations
Bigelow Space Operations

"NASA itself is a competitor", he said.

Bigelow called upon the Trump administration to step in and find a solution to the problem, although he did not advocate for any specific approach.

"Talk is easy", he said.

At 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence will chair a National Space Council meeting at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "We really are available to discuss this topic with the administration and expose the problem that we see exists not only from a commercial standpoint, but a political standpoint", he said. It is very expensive to run, compared to Bigelow's designs. The company is now expecting that it will manage to launch this in 2021. The company is also reportedly working with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to send an inflatable habitat to low lunar orbit by 2022. To define the demand, Bigelow Space Operations (BSO) will quantify the global market for orbiting stations. "We expect to finish that investigation by the end of this year". "If it turned out to be that, we would pause after developing two B330s". Bigelow, however, did not specify what exactly those markets might be.

In November, the company also said that by 2050, build an inflatable module for lunar orbit, which will work as the "lunar storage" NASA and a training base for future colonists.

While China has been frozen out of the International Space Station project, it has developed its own indigenous technologies for establishing an astronaut presence in low Earth orbit, and is understood to be working on the required components for crewed missions to the Moon in the 2030s. The company has made a deal with U.S. national lab on the ISS named CASIS to carry payloads to the ISS.

"If we do not see a viable business case...because NASA wishes to use them, or that we have a viable business case with the corporate world, or with the national world, that would be the worst case scenario." he said. "We believe in them continuing their existence regardless of what happens to the station, because they're helping to energize embryonic companies".