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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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RE: Plastics in space???
By stromgald on 6/29/2007 12:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
It's not so much the gravity or temperatures. It's the low pressure. Plastics in near vacuum will "outgas" or basically turn into gas/vapor and disintegrate/weaken. Any plastic in space has to be either 1) enclosed in an area with some atmosphere or 2) some special (and most likely expensive) polymer.

By the way . . . where does the article mention plastic? Just because it's inflatable doesn't mean it's plastic. Fuel tanks on satellites are made of titanium, but increase by more than 10% in size on orbit due to their thin walls and the differential pressures.


RE: Plastics in space???
By masher2 (blog) on 6/29/2007 12:07:33 PM , Rating: 3
> "By the way . . . where does the article mention plastic? Just because it's inflatable doesn't mean it's plastic. "

Actually, it is plastic. Or rather, Vectran, which is an ultra-highstrength polyester, significantly stronger than Kevlar.


RE: Plastics in space???
By stromgald on 6/29/2007 1:52:52 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, cool stuff. Just looked up Vectran in wikipedia, it's some exotic plastic with good space heritage:
quote:
Perhaps most notably, Vectran is used as one of the five layers in NASA's current space suit design, and was the fabric used for the airbags on the Mars Pathfinder and twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit & Opportunity missions


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