Robert Bigelow and His Dream: Only 250 Miles to Go

Exterior view of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II
Exterior view of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II

Over at Space.com, Leonard David has a great interview with Robert Bigelow, who plans to launch a private space station into orbit in 2014. The interview makes clear that despite spending $180 million to date, Bigelow still doesn’t quite have a way to get to orbit:

All that is predicated, however, on launch availability — be it on an Atlas 5 or the yet-to-fly Falcon 9 rocket under development by private booster builder Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). It will take seven rocket flights, he said, to hurl the elements for the first Bigelow Aerospace complex into space.

Back up even more, Bigelow said, and 2015 is predicated on what is going to happen this year with NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative. In September of last year, Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace teamed up to submit a proposal to NASA, as did other groups, for the space agency’s Commercial Crew Transport System.

NASA has yet to make a decision in regard to CCDev selections.

“We remain very optimistic in regard to our partnership with Boeing and have been particularly pleased with the way the relationship has developed,” said Mike Gold, Director of Washington, D.C. operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace in Chevy Chase, Md. “The positive interaction demonstrates that commercial crew is not exclusively limited to small or new entities, and that larger, more experienced companies such as Boeing have a vital role to play,” he told SPACE.com via email.

Read the full story.