Ooo! Pick me! I’ll go!

Getting depressingly little coverage is this little bit of news: a prototype privately-launched space station is now on orbit. The vehicle is Genesis I, owned and operated by Bigelow Aerospace, launched July 12 atop a RKA Dnepr rocket. Robert Bigelow’s ultimate plan is a commercial space station.

Puttin’ a little heat on NASA and Bert Rutan, it seems! Onward and upward, guys, onward and upward.


6 comments so far

  1. avon_deer on

    Now that NASA has no motive to continue advancing space travel (no Commies to beat), its refreshing to see someone else step up to the plate. Even if it is a commercial enterprise. I was about to enter into tyraid about how such bodies nearly would doubtless build their spacecraft out of component supplied by the lowest bidder (thus putting lives at risk). But it appears that NASA did the same with its Shuttle programme.

    • I’m hoping that the entry of the Chinese into the field will change the dynamic, especially if they make a Moon run.

  2. surakofb5 on

    I saw this story on Friday, but I’ve been too busy to think about it.

    Actually, it’s not really competing with Burt Rutan. Bigelow is only testing a space station (i.e. hotel in space), not a way to get there. He’ll still need Space Ship One to get the customers there.

    • Ah, good point. That’s true, Bigelow is making the destination, not the transport. And they’ve put forward their own space prize, which I’m sure Rutan and company are eyeing.

  3. thattallguy201 on

    Uhhh… it’s *inflatable*. Me, I want to go to space, but I really don’t think inflatable habitats are the way to go. Inflatable SPS, sure. Inflatable tool shed, sure. All kinds of uses. But an inflatable solar flare shield? Meteorite shield? Shield from guidance rockets on docking ships? These things take *mass*, pure and simple. Give me a big chunk of rock to hollow out, or modular sealable collapsible bits (a stack of flat pieces and a couple of endcaps will make a nice modular hexagonal room) and I’ll be a lot happier.

    Now that’s not to say I don’t like the idea of *innovation*. But I want something a little more solid between me and cometary-velocity particles, thank-you-very-much.

    • Well, I’m sure they’re taking all that into account. I mean, it wouldn’t look good on CNN to have their station pop and suffocate a dozen paying tourists. This is only a prototype, not anything that’s going to house more than instruments.

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