Bigelow Proposes Building “Orion Lite” Spacraft

Model of NASA's Orion spacecraft
Model of NASA's Orion spacecraft

Nevada Company Pitches ‘Lite’ Concept for NASA’s New Spaceship
Space News

A stripped down version of NASA’s future spaceship designed by a Nevada-based company could be ready as soon as 2013, according to the Bigelow Aerospace, the private company proposing to build it.

A Bigelow official flew to Denver in July to privately brief a White House-charted panel on the suggested design based on the planned Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, which will carry passengers to and from low Earth orbit.

Such a system is crucial to Bigelow’s plans for deploying Sundancer, an inflatable space station module the North Las Vegas, Nev.-based firm is building based on NASA’s Transhab design. In search of the means to transport paying passengers to Sundancer, Bigelow has spent the past two years working with Denver-based United Launch Alliance to study a human-rated version of the Atlas 5 rocket.

But it was not until last month that Bigelow quietly unveiled the “Orion Lite” concept in a private briefing to former Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Norm Augustine and his White House-charted committee tasked in May with developing a range of options for an affordable and sustainable U.S. human spaceflight program.

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