Japanese Eye Bigelow Module for Station Expansion

Bigelow's space station would have space to accommodate up to 12 people. (Photo: Douglas Messier)

NewScientist reports that NASA isn’t the only space agency interested in attaching a Bigelow module to the International Space Station:

Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, Nevada, which has built an expandable Kevlar-based space station module, is currently working on two ISS-related deals. Bigelow director Mike Gold, a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, says the firm is in “advanced discussions” with the commercial Japanese Manned Space Systems Corporation (JAMSS) – which operates the Kibo module on the ISS for the Japanese Space Agency JAXA – to provide it with an orbiting habitat.

The module could be rented out as an ISS storage unit, making the station less dependent on frequent resupply flights, says Hiroshi Kikuchi of JAMSS. To show that the modules are capable of safe, crewed operation, Bigelow is also negotiating with NASA to attach one to a US-owned ISS module.

Thanks to Clark Lindsey of HobbySpace for finding this gem.