Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Las Vegas, NV, United States (4E) – Bigelow Aerospace plans to orbit the world’s first commercial space station where scientists will share space with businessmen out to make money from technologies that work in the weightless environment of Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Founded by hotel magnate Robert Bigelow and based in Las Vegas, the company is in the business of developing and assembling in modular space habitats, which linked together, will form a space station.
One of the company’s expandable habitats has been attached to the International Space Station (ISS) since 2016. This habitat called BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) provides more space for astronauts assigned to the orbiting science station.
Now, Bigelow Aerospace’s ambitions have soared farther. The company plans to launch its newest baby — the B330 expandable habitat — into LEO by 2021. This mammoth space home will have 330 cubic meters (nearly 12,000 cubic feet) of interior volume when expanded in space. That’s about one-third the volume on the ISS.
Bigelow Aerospace plans to launch two B330s as the payload on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rockets. It even has plans to orbit a B330 around the Moon.
The company’s main aim is to assemble a single station with 2.4 times the entire pressurized volume of the ISS. It said the twin B330s will provide “on orbit space for science and research at much a lower price than ISS.”
Bigelow Aerospace originally planned to use its expandable habitats as orbiting hotels for space tourists, and the future B330 space station might wind=up doing just that. It’s also interested in “helping foreign countries to establish their human space programs,” as well as expand into “larger markets that do not fall into the science baskets.”
The B330 is a full-scale production module weighing 20,000 kg. It’s 14 meters in length and 6.7 meters in diameter when expanded.
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate