Bigelow’s Lunar Plans

Alan Boyle over at Cosmic Log has just interviewed Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace, the company building and testing inflatable space habitats for low-Earth-orbit.

Turns out that they’re not just for low-Earth-orbit. Bigelow’s long-range plans include assembling moon-bases out of his modules, at the Earth-Moon-L1 lagrange point, and flying them whole to the lunar surface. Just cover with lunar regolith for radiation protection, and you have an instant prefabricated moon base. According to the interview, NASA is interested.

Of course, at this point it’s all speculation, but Bigelow does have one ace up his sleeve that most NewSpace companies can’t claim: hardware in orbit. An uncrewed, one-third-scale prototype of the habitat, Genesis One, is already being checked out in space. Another, more sophisticated prototype is due for launch in early April. Sometime after that, a one-half scale prototype will be launched, and Bigelow plans to have a human-capable space module, Sundancer, on-orbit and ready for occupation some time in 2010.

2 thoughts on “Bigelow’s Lunar Plans

  1. I, like you feel really confident about Bigelow’s progress into the space realm. I’ll feel so much better when I see someone who has a launch vehicle that works (are you smelling the flop sweat, SpaceX? Do you feel the pressure?), or a working capsule. I’ve come around tin the last two-three years to the notion that we’ll only be getting off the planet when we have a space capability separate from the national space agencies. I know I have a few years before anyone has a working orbital capsule and SpaceX launches Falcon I and starts working on Falcon V or Falcon IX.

  2. Genesis 1 and 2 are really impressive,not only in being inflatable and so capable of being launched on a smaller rocket,and more cheaply than ISS modules, but also in being actually superior in rejecting micrometeorite damage , and,probably, radiation. With the advent of Falcon 9 Heavy( c 2010) ,the Dragon spacecraft and Jim Benson’s Dreamchaser,et al.we should begin to see truly affordable access to Space in the coming 5-10 years. A logical progression towards space industrialisation and eventual settlement is at least in progress -and with the parlous environmental and political state of our planet at present- not before time! I suspect many readers of today’s news media would welcome a bit of life insurance for their descendants. The new Space pioneers,notably Robert Bigelow,are perhaps the most positive human force of the Age -we should all wish them well

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