SpaceX teams up with Bigelow on space station marketing

February 7, 2010 – 05:06 pm
SpaceX teams up with Bigelow SpaceX is planning to launch an unmanned Dragon cargo capsule into orbit as early as May 19 for a potential test linkup with the International Space Station, and is already working with NASA to modify the Dragon for carrying astronauts as well. Just this week, NASA announced that SpaceX reached a milestone in that development effort by showing that seven astronauts could maneuver effectively inside the Dragon space taxi, even under emergency scenarios.

SpaceX

Astronauts and experts check out the crew accommodations in SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. On top, from left, are NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert, NASA astronauts Tony Antonelli and Lee Archambault, and SpaceX Mission Operations Engineer Laura Crabtree. On bottom, from left, are SpaceX Thermal Engineer Brenda Hernandez and NASA astronauts Rex Walheim and Tim Kopra.

Bigelow's BA 330 space module would be designed to provide 330 cubic meters of usable volume, which is about the size of a two-bedroom apartment. The BA 330 could accommodate up to six astronauts, depending on how cozy they plan to get. Two or more BA 330 modules could be connected together in orbit for lease by national space agencies, companies or universities, according to Bigelow Aerospace.

Bigelow made his fortune in the hotel industry, which led some to suppose that he was getting into the space-hotel business — but the first users are likely to be researchers or governments aiming to pursue their own space programs on a leased orbital platform. The company has launched two prototype inflatable modules on Russian rockets — Genesis 1 in 2006 and Genesis 2 in 2007 — and both of those unmanned spacecraft are still in orbit.


Source: cosmiclog.nbcnews.com

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