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The chart shows a size comparison between the current pathfinder modules Genesis I and II, the Galaxy module planned for 2008, and the future human-habitable modules Sundancer and BA 330.
Second launch takes firm closer to goal of deploying blow-up space stations

Bigelow Aerospace celebrated the launch of its second inflatable space module this week, marking a major step forward in the company's plan of building a fleet of "space habitat destinations."

The Las Vegas-based company announced on its website that it received the first pictures from the Genesis II spacecraft 90 minutes after it was launched on June 28 from the ISC Kosmotras Yasny Cosmodrome, located in the Orenburg region of Russia.

The low-resolution thumbnails, taken during the craft's solar panel deployment, provided confirmation that the Genesis II had reached its orbit and was beginning its inflation sequence.

The Genesis II is identical in size and appearance to Genesis I -- approximately 15 feet in length and about 6 feet in diameter at launch, inflating to 8 feet in diameter after reaching orbit.

The Genesis II differs from its predecessor primarily with respect to its payload. The latest spacecraft carries twice as many cameras -- 22 in all -- as well as an arsenal of additional sensors and avionics that were not included on Genesis I.

The new spacecraft is also loaded down with a variety of nonscientific paraphernalia, including boxes of cockroaches and scorpions, and other flotsam collected from paying participants in the Bigelow Aerospace “Fly your Stuff” program.

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Space Whopper Hopper?
By therealnickdanger on 6/29/2007 9:10:21 AM , Rating: 3
I thought there was some sort of problem in space... something about little shards of metal traveling at 20,000 MPH or something to that effect. I suppose they could puncture a space shuttle just as easily, but something disturbs me about being inside a giant space-born Whopper Hopper.

RE: Space Whopper Hopper?
By Gul Westfale on 6/29/2007 9:34:39 AM , Rating: 2
that is kind of the point. the reasoning seems to be that a hard surface would break when hit by a fast-moving object, but a softer surface would absorb the impact. when they say inflatable they don't mean el-cheapo kids' toys, i'm sure they're quite sturdy.

also, every pound of stuff that goes to the moon/space needs a disproportionally large amount of fuel to get there- i heard somewhere it was 23pounds of fuel per pound of material. so by making this simpler and inflatable maybe they are saving weight, and thus complexity/cost.

RE: Space Whopper Hopper?
By Ringold on 6/29/2007 3:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's also technology that was originally thought of for use with the ISS, but later abandoned by the government. Being abandoned by NASA usually means it's a fantastic idea, and Bigelow picked up the tech on the cheap. This stuff is the future. It wasn't discussed above but he's already working on plans to assemble a station at a Lagrange point and slowly lowering it to a prepared location on the lunar surface -- insta-city.

RE: Space Whopper Hopper?
By omnicronx on 6/29/2007 9:34:51 AM , Rating: 2
just because its inflatable doesnt make it a balloon waiting to pop, it must be protected in someway, as you mentioned tiny pieces of space particles do fly around all the time.. a main reason why space walking is so dangerous.

RE: Space Whopper Hopper?
By jtdwab on 6/29/2007 9:49:14 AM , Rating: 3
One other point to remember some of the luner landers panels were the thickness of a couple sheets of aluminium foil. Much of that ship was very thin for weight. Once in orbit and extracted from its farrings it traveled to the moon and back with no protection.

RE: Space Whopper Hopper?
By ksherman on 6/29/07, Rating: -1
RE: Space Whopper Hopper?
By AsicsNow on 6/29/2007 10:03:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and this is why it was a damn miracle they survived.

RE: Space Whopper Hopper?
By KristopherKubicki on 6/29/2007 11:35:13 AM , Rating: 4
You also have to keep in mind space is really empty -- maybe not in LEO, but in general there's really not much of anything up there.

This is partly why we can see billions of miles unobstructed, those little particles just aren't that common.

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