Bigelow Pitches Space Station in Canada

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

Bigelow Aerospace was in Canada last week pitching its private space station to potential users:

A company representative was in Ottawa last weekend, delivering a keynote speech and lobbying officials at the annual summit of the Canadian Space Society. Mike Gold, a Bigelow director, called it his first attempt to reach out to the Canadian government and the space industry. He argued that the facility will offer countries a cheaper way into space within five years. In an email Tuesday, the CSA’s director of space exploration, Gilles Leclerc, said that the agency is not involved, “in any way,” in the Bigelow project. But Gold expresses optimism. “I don’t know how much I can say, but let me say if there wasn’t the interest in Canada, I wouldn’t be here,” he said.

Read the full story.

CCDev Third Quarter Report: Boeing’s Commercial Crew Transport

Program: NASA Commercial Crew Development (CCDev)
Boeing Company (with Bigelow Aerospace)
Commercial Crew Transportation System (CST-100)
Award: $18 million

Third Quarter Progress Report
(July 1-Sept. 30, 2010)

During this quarter, CCDev program progressing as planned. Completed 26 SAA milestones on schedule (72% of program milestones), continuing re-plan of Abort System Hardware Demo resulting from the LAS down select decision, installed honeycomb core and thermal ablator (BLA) onto BHS carrier structure, installed completed CM Pressurized Structure proof pressure and pressure cycle testing, completed Landing System Demo uprighting tests and initiated landing air bag drop testing, successfully completed integration of Huntington Beach VENUS lab with the Houston ASIF lab for the integrated GN&C simulation, completed the ASIF stand-alone Demo, delivered CM Mockup to Boeing Houston facility and performed evaluations with NASA Crew Office and held a third Interim Design Review. Planning is completed and preparations are underway for Systems Definition Review (SDR) in October.

Space Review Looks at Bigelow, Mars

Robert Bigelow

In The Space Review this week….

Bigelow still thinks big
For over a decade Bigelow Aerospace has been quietly working on inflatable habitat modules for use on commercial space stations. Jeff Foust reports on how, as the company’s profile grows, so do its ambitions.

Secrets of the red planet
The movie Capricorn One hardly put NASA in a good light, yet the movie uses props like a lunar lander replica. Dwayne Day examines how the movie producers got access to that hardware.

Review: Trailblazing Mars
Mars is now written into law as the the long-term objective for NASA’s human spaceflight plans, but how will the agency manage to get there? Jeff Foust reviews a book that studies the issues of sending humans to the Red Planet.

Deep ops
On the first KH-9 reconnaissance satellite mission, one of its reentry capsules missed its midair capture and plummeted to the bottom of the Pacific. Dwayne Day recounts the effort by the US Navy to recover that capsule.

Bigelow Begins Space Station Life Support Human Rating Tests

Bigelow space station interior view.

Oct. 19, 2010

Bigelow Aerospace LLC, LasVegas, NV, has begun the process of human rating its Environmental Control and Life Support System. The contained volume humans in the loop testing is in preparation for the 2015 launch of Sundancer – an expandable module approximately 27ft long, 22ft in diameter, with an internal volume of 180m3 and supports a crew of three. When completed, the process will have demonstrated the life support system’s ability to safely support a crew of three persons for extended durations.


ISPCS Session: Crew Transportation Systems

Illustration of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arriving at the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

ISPCS Session:
Crew Transportation Systems: The Game Changer in Human Spaceflight

Brett Alexander – President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Mark Sirangelo – Corporate Vice President and Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Keith Reiley – Program Manager, Commercial Crew Development, The Boeing Company
Ken Bowersox – Vice President of Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance, SpaceX
Kenneth Reightler – Vice President, NASA Program Integration, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
Robert Bigelow – Owner and Founder, Bigelow Aerospace


ISPCS Panel: Bigelow, Paragon, Sierra Nevada and Dynetics

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser - a seven-person space shuttle designed for orbital flight.


“Establishing the Commercial Space Market: Matching Business Strategy with Funding Sources”

Lee Rand — Managing Partner, Sun Mountain Capital
Grant Anderson — VP of Engineering, Paragon Space Development Corporation
Mark Sirangelo — Corporate VP and Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation; Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Tim Pickens — Commercial Space Advisor; Chief Propulsion Engineer, Dynetics
Robert Bigelow — Owner and Founder, Bigelow Aerospace


Bigelow Signs Up Six Countries for Commercial Space Stations

Robert Bigelow (right) stands before a model of his private space station. (Photo: Douglas Messier)

My colleague Leonard David reports the identities of the six nations that want to lease space aboard Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatable space stations:

The deals, in the form of memorandums of understanding, involve Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom.


Bigelow: Six Countries Lined Up to Lease Private Space Stations

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

A bit more on Robert Bigelow’s visit on Wednesday to the United Launch Alliance production facility in Decatur, Ala. Media reports indicate that Bigelow’s company will need a large number of rockets to sustain its planned space stations. He also said he has six nations lined up to lease the facilities.


Bigelow Visits ULA Assembly Plant in Decatur

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

Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow visited the United Launch Alliance assembly plant in Decatur, Ala., where he promoted the use of the Atlas V rocket for human missions and decried the $56 million per seat that NASA is paying to Russia to fly American astronauts aboard Soyuz spacecraft. WAFF-48 News quotes the founder of Bigelow Aerospace as saying:

“We’ve already spent about 800-million dollars giving that money to the Russians, and I understand there is about 900-million more that is marked to go to the Russians. So America desperately needs a good transportation system that is economical and efficient.”

Bigelow is teaming up with Boeing to produce a 7-person CST-100 spacecraft designed to launch aboard Atlas V and other expendable rockets. The vehicle would service Bigelow’s inflatable space stations, which the Las Vegas company plans to begin launching in 2014. The plan is dependent upon NASA funding to build the crew transport.

Boeing Teaming Up With Space Adventures

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

Alan Boyle over at MSNBC’s Cosmic Log writes:

Space Adventures, the Virginia-based company that has worked with the Russians to send seven millionaires to the International Space Station, says it has reached “a unique agreement” with the Boeing Co. on space transportation services — and executives from both companies will be talking about the deal next week.


Wallops Island Could Host Human Space Flights

Launch complexes on Wallops Island, Virginia

Virginia Business has an interesting story on the commercial launch potential of Wallops Island in Virginia, which includes possible human launches aboard Atlas V by Bigelow Aerospace:

Over the next five years, the company will make eight launches of the Taurus II from Wallops, as part of a $1.9 billion contract Orbital has with NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

The Orbital deal is nice, and there are even bigger prizes out there. The decades-long effort to let the private sector handle much of what NASA has traditionally done is gaining momentum. The Obama administration gave the idea a big push this year in its NASA budget proposal, which calls for outsourcing to private companies the delivery of supplies — and maybe some day crew members — to the space station.