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.

NASA Proposes License Grant for Bigelow Technology

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver is given a tour of the Bigelow Aerospace facilities by the company's President Robert Bigelow on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, in Las Vegas. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA has recommended that Bigelow Aerospace be granted a license to market some of its patented inflatable space habitat technology, according to a notice published in the Federal Registrar.

NASA hereby gives notice of its intent to grant a partially exclusive license in the United States to practice the invention described and claimed in United States Patent 7,509,774 (issued March 31, 2009) and NASA Case No. MSC 24201-1, entitled “Apparatus For Integrating A Rigid Structure Into A Flexible Wall Of An Inflatable Structure” to Bigelow Aerospace, having its principal place of business in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

(more…)

Garver Views Commercial Space Hardware at Bigelow, Sierra Nevada Facilities

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver is given a tour of the Bigelow Aerospace facilities by the company's President Robert Bigelow on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, in Las Vegas. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver visited Bigelow Aerospace and Sierra Nevada Corporation this week to see commercial human spaceflight hardware that to two companies are developing. The following report is based on NASA press releases.

Inflatable Space Stations

In Las Vegas, Garver toured the facilities of Bigelow Aerospace, a company that has been developing expandable space habitats. NASA is evaluating Bigelow’s concept for an expandable module for the International Space Station. If approved, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, could be launched to the station using a commercial cargo flight and robotically attached to the orbiting laboratory.

(more…)

Bigelow to Space Coast: Infrastructure Expansion and Upgrades Essential

Space Florida's Launch Complex 36

Aviation Week has a bit more on Bigelow Aerospace’s pitch to Florida to become the main launch complex for the company’s commercial space stations:

One of the keys to Bigelow’s success is an exemption from International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restrictions. “Our aerospace company is the only aerospace company in the United States that is ITAR-exempt. That was not easy. We achieved that a while back,” [Robert] Bigelow told about 150 community leaders and journalists gathered to hear his pitch for the Space Coast. The event was organized by Space Florida, a state-backed agency.

(more…)

Bigelow, Space Florida to Pursue Customers for Private Space Stations

Bigelow Aerospace's planned Sundancer space module

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (February 3, 2011) – Yesterday, Space Florida President Frank DiBello and Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Aerospace, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to work together to pursue and identify foreign and domestic companies that could benefit from utilization of Bigelow’s expandable, orbital space complexes.

(more…)

Bigelow Partnership is Potentially Quite Lucrative for Florida

A Boeing CST-100 crew module docks at a Bigelow Aerospace space station. (Credit: Boeing)

A bit more on the Bigelow-Space Florida MOU, which was signed at an event yesterday at Cape Canaveral. It looks as if the actual cooperative venture is relatively modest in the near term, but potentially quite lucrative in the long run — providing state officials play their cards right and ante up.

(more…)

NASA’s Garver to Visit Bigelow, Sierra Nevada Facilities

Deputy NASA Administrator Lori Garver

NASA MEDIA ADVISORY

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will travel to Las Vegas and Boulder, Colo., this week to meet with leaders of two commercial space companies, Bigelow Aerospace and Sierra Nevada Corp., and tour their facilities. NASA is partnering with the commercial sector to develop innovative technologies to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in future space endeavors.

On Friday, Feb. 4, Garver will tour Bigelow Aerospace facilities at 1899 W. Brooks Ave. in North Las Vegas. NASA has been discussing potential partnership opportunities with Bigelow for its inflatable habitat technologies. Garver and the company’s President Robert Bigelow will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. PST. To attend, media representatives must contact Mike Gold at mgold@bigelowaerospace.com.

On Saturday, Feb. 5, Garver will meet with Mark Sirangello, chairman of Sierra Nevada Space Systems. Afterward, she will tour the company’s facility responsible for spacecraft mechanical subsystems, components and satellite manufacturing in Louisville, Colo.

(more…)

Bigelow and Space Florida Sign MOU

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

Bigelow Aerospace and Space Florida signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today at Cape Canaveral. Robert Bigelow and Frank DiBello signed the MOU on behalf of their respective organizations. The event, attended by about 100 people, also featured Dr. George Sowers, Vice President of Business Development and Advanced Programs at United Launch Alliance.

Bigelow is planning to orbit two space stations later in the decade, a project that would use ULA’s rockets for some of the launches. The Las Vegas company wants to launch from Cape Canaveral and other locations, including Wallops Island in Virginia.

Edward Ellegood posted Tweets on the event. Below are the highlights:

Bigelow and Space Florida will collaborate on various activities. Bigelow expects to require 156-186 total launches between 2015-2023.

No facility development is planned under this MOU. Space Florida will seek suitable location for exhibits. Bigelow would open small office.

Bigelow would work with Central Florida’s simulation industry/institute to develop and test concepts. Exhibits would be 1/3 scale.

Bigelow plans two operational space stations: “Alpha” and “Bravo”.

Bigelow looking at 2011-2014 as preparatory time for designing and developing space hardware. He wants FAA AST to be the regulator.

Bigelow would have to build a third mfg facility to develop their third and largest station modules. Would need to be near launch site.

DiBello: Space Florida goal is to increase the state’s launch rate. ULA says its EELV sites are operating below capacity.

UAE Becomes Center of Middle East’s Space Effort

The seven-state United Arab Emirates is quickly becoming the center of the Middle East’s space effort, with agreements with Virgin Galactic for a suborbital spaceport and Bigelow Aerospace to develop an orbital spaceflight program. In the process, it is riding the crest of a new commercial wave in how human spaceflight will be conducted.

UAE might have the first commercial suborbital spaceport outside of the United States should the American government allows Virgin Galactic to export its WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo system.

(more…)

NASA CCDev Update: Three Down, Two to Go

The government has published status updates on NASA’s five Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) 1 grants which were awarded last February. Sierra Nevada Corporation, Blue Origin and Paragon Space Development Corporation have completed their work as planned by the end of the calendar year. The Bigelow/Boeing team and United Launch Alliance have been given extensions through March and April, respectively. NASA awarded a total of $50 million for the first round; it will award about $200 million in additional grants in March.

Individual status reports follow after the break.
(more…)

Bigelow Signs MOU to Create Human Spaceflight Program for Dubai, UAE

Bigelow Aerospace's planned Sundancer space station

EIAST PRESS RELEASE

The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) and Bigelow Aerospace LLC, an organisation dedicated to providing affordable options for spaceflight to national space agencies and corporate clients, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to drive joint efforts to usher in a new era in human spaceflight based on innovative technologies, affordability, commercial sustainability, and strong international partnerships.

As per the MoU, EIAST and Bigelow Aerospace will explore joint efforts to establish a next-generation commercial human spaceflight programme for Dubai and the UAE, leveraging recent advances in human spaceflight. They will work to create a world-class microgravity research and development programme with a potential focus on advanced biotechnology applications, and a variety of other commercial space-related activities.

(more…)

NASA, Bigelow Move Forward on Attaching Inflatable Module to ISS

Bigelow Aerospace module cutaway.

Leonard David has a bit more on Bigelow Aerospace’s proposal to attach its BEAM inflatable module to the International Space Station:

No agreement has been signed yet, said Michael Gold, director of Washington, D.C., operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace LLC, based in Chevy Chase, Md. “But we’re looking forward to doing so in the near future and we’re pleased about the progress.”

(more…)

Bigelow Signs MOU With UK Astronomy Center

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

UK tech to aid private space shot
BBC News

The UK’s Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bigelow.

UK ATC has developed an infrared sensor for the US-European James Webb Space Telescope.

Bigelow’s space telescope concepts include operating beyond the Moon, more than one million kilometres away at one of the Lagrange points – gravitational “sweet spots” where spacecraft can hold station without expending too much fuel.

But before any deep space mission UK technology could be tested onboard the private space station Bigelow is planning.

Read the full story.

ULA to Reduce Staff, Costs; Musk Wants to Launch Air Force Payloads

ULA's Atlas V

ULA Says Workforce Reductions Will Help Cut Costs
Space News

United Launch Alliance (ULA) will reduce its work force by 19 percent over the next few years as it weeds out unneeded overlaps in Atlas and Delta rockets and finds other efficiencies, ULA Chief Operating Officer Dan Collins said.

The head-count reduction, which follows a 16 percent staff cut over the past four years, should enable Denver-based ULA to reduce operating costs and offer reduced launch-service prices to its U.S. government customer, he said.

Collins said ULA, established in December 2006, has already surpassed its goal of cutting launch costs by 25 percent over the previous generation of rockets, and that more cost reductions are on the way….

(more…)