Bigelow Aerospace has a dream to create hotels in space using inflatable, expandable modules. Awarded a $17.8 million contract by NASA this week, Bigelow, owned by Robert Bigelow of Budget Suites of America, plans to launch an inflatable module into space where it will remain for two years and serve as a storage module attached to the ISS. A news conference is planned for January 16 at Bigelow's headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bigelow, featured in past articles, has worked with the Russian space program for several years and previously launched two inflatables, Genesis 1 and 2. The former went into space in 2006. The latter in 2007. Both remain in orbit.
In the two images below on the left is a full-scale Bigelow module, and on the right the ISS with module attached. The current contract would be for a smaller inflatable than what is displayed here but Bigelow's goal is to send modules with greatly expanded living space into orbit and eventually the Moon to serve as human habitations.
In the NASA media advisory it refers to a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module. We will know a lot more about what exactly is planned on this coming Wednesday. The conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
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October 5, 2015 - All the boxes have been unpacked. All the cupboards are stuffed to the gills. Finally I can begin to get back to what I like doing, writing about science, technology and the future.
October 2, 2015 - This last week has proven to be tougher than both my wife and I thought. Moving at our age leads to lots of aches and pains. There is only so much that these old bones and muscles can endure before they protest seeking acetaminophen or something stronger to stop the ache.
Money is the primary mechanism for storing and exchanging value, especially in our daily purchases, and it’s heading rapidly into a faster, smarter and more mobile future. Nevertheless, the constant in the midst of change will remain levels of human trust in the proliferating forms of money.
September 23, 2015 - In 2015 437 companies so far have factored carbon emissions in their financial planning.
September 22, 2015 - There are no geopolitical boundaries when it comes to the atmosphere. The molecules of air I exhale right now at some point may find their way to China and back again.
September 21, 2015 - One of the most interesting 21st century phenomenon is the rise of an entirely new type of business built on the infrastructure of the Internet and designed not just to make money but to provide a public benefit as well. In the past public benefit was something delivered by government. Think libraries and hospitals.
September 20, 2015 - Star Trek IV The Voyage Home featured humpback whales and a scene in which Scotty and Dr. McCoy offered a company in San Francisco the secret to transparent aluminum, a material not yet invented at the time. Dr. McCoy questioned whether the disclosure would alter the future.
September 18, 2015 - If the entire Antarctic continent were to melt it would add 58 meters (190 feet) to world sea levels. The real question is how much additional carbon in the atmosphere would be needed for this scenario to play out?