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Bigelow Aerospace Builds a Module out of Soft Material - to Make More Room on the International Space Station and for Potential Moon Habitats

 

Posted: 15 July 2014  
 
Bigelow Aerospace is building an Expandable Activity Module that will attach to a node on the ISS and give the astronauts more space. Bigelow Aerospace Expandable Activity Module
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, artists conception. Image: Space.com

Who would like to purchase a ticket for between $25-60 million to travel to the Moon in a Space X Dragon crew capsule perhaps, to stay at a space accommodation formed by the connection of several Bigelow Aerospace inflatable modules? It may soon be a possibility. It is exciting to see what Bigelow Aerospace, founded by former Las Vegas hotelier Robert Bigelow, will bring to the near future in commercial space travel.

Robert Bigelow once said he had an interest in space for most of his life. He would go on to became a hotelier and made a fortune after selling the extended stay hotel chain which he owned, Budget Suites of America, thereby supplying himself with the capital to enter the space industry. Mr. Bigelow has also donated millions to UNLV's Parapsychology department. Another nice aspect about the direction Mr. Bigelow's influence contributes to the space industry is that as a former hotelier, he is more interested in providing "Moon housing" or "Moon hotels" than mining on the Moon.

Mr. Bigelow is helping NASA to get more production for less cost by licensing some of NASA's own technology- the design for the module- setting up a factory in North Las Vegas, and investing $250 million of his own money. The balloon like module that Bigelow Aerospace has built for NASA is a soft-sided, blow up module that will be folded up inside a 7 foot tube for delivery to the International Space Station, and on the ISS it will be attached to an airlock, inflated and should create a more spacious and quiet habitat for the astronauts to retreat to. Some time in the next couple years the module will go through tests by NASA on the ISS regarding its inside temperature and other factors before it will be deemed ready for use by astronauts.


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by Andrea Boggs

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