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Bigelow Aerospace's expandable modules  (Source: wikimedia.org)
Further details about the partnership and scheduling will be released on Wednesday, according to NASA

After much success with SpaceX, NASA has decided to bring another commercial space company onboard -- but this time, it's for an International Space Station (ISS) remodel.

NASA has awarded commercial space company Bigelow Aerospace a total of $17.8 million to create an expandable module for the ISS.

Bigelow Aerospace, which was founded in 1998, has been building expandable spacecraft with the intention of using them on missions. In 2006 and 2007, the company successfully launched its prototypes into orbit.

Now, NASA wants Bigelow Aerospace to use its expandable modules to develop a bigger space station.

Further details about the partnership and scheduling will be released on Wednesday, according to NASA.

“This partnership agreement for the use of expandable habitats represents a step forward in cutting-edge technology that can allow humans to thrive in space safely and affordably, and heralds important progress in U.S. commercial space innovation,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver.

NASA took a chance with private, California-based space company SpaceX when the government agency retired its space shuttle fleet throughout 2011. SpaceX stepped up in order to provide American astronauts a way to the ISS without hitching an expensive ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket. In 2012, SpaceX's Dragon made an initial successful cargo trip to the ISS in May and its first official cargo trip later in October.

It is rumored that SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace will make a trip together in 2015.

The ISS, which launched in 1998, will deorbit and be sent to the ocean around 2020 according to deputy head of Roskosmos space agency Vitaly Davydov.

Source: Forbes





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