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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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RE: Not impressed
By delphinus100 on 1/14/2013 8:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Those same engineers know how much more complicated a rotating station would be, and to get 1G without intolerably fast rotation rates and Coriolis Force issues, you're pushed to large structures. It doesn't work as well on a small scale.

Space transportation of materials and people to orbit isn't very cheap yet. How deep are your pockets?


RE: Not impressed
By Ammohunt on 1/15/2013 5:29:25 PM , Rating: 2
If they were smart they would have already had invested in a method to ship raw materials to space and build the parts for a larger space station in a space "factory" taking full advantage of zero g making exotic materials such as foam metal to build with. Then move the space station to a Lagrange point spin it and call it done. Not saying its easy but building a throw away space station is just pure stupidity.

On a side note we should have had a moon base 30 years ago; Plenty of resources on the moon with the proper heat source you could make ships and or space stations out of moon glass or who knows what.


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