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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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By gwynethgh on 6/29/2007 10:47:27 AM , Rating: 2
I expect it is layers of fancy fibreglasses and kevlars etc for necessary strength (inside air pressure) and impermeable membrane material for gas tightness. Maybe even a soft sealer for micro punctures. Smaller volume at launch and no need to design for the larger launch stresses of the empty tin cans (basically) of the current space station habs. Great idea. I understand NASA really liked these but the time frame or budget didn't support ISS use. nice to see private industry competing with NASA. It keeps them both on there toes

RE: Materials
By masher2 on 6/29/2007 11:02:28 AM , Rating: 2
These were actually proposed back in the early 1960s. Some SF authors such as Larry Niven even made inflateable "living bubbles" standard equipment on their spacecraft. I'm glad to see they're finally coming to fruition.

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