Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Small Step Toward Space Hotels

On January 11, NASA announced a $17.8 million contract with Bigelow Aerospace to provide an inflatable BEAM module to attach to the ISS in 2015.

The eighth ISS SpaceX Dragon flight is expected to deliver the module in 2015, and it should stay at least two years before being released and sent to burn up in the atmosphere. Interior pressure, temperature and radiation levels will be monitored and compared to conventional rigid modules. Folded up, the BEAM can ride within the “trunk” section behind the SpaceX Dragon capsule. The BEAM is 4m long and 3.2m in diameter when inflated. That’s slightly shorter and a somewhat wider than the two Genesis modules currently in orbit.

This is a nice step on the way to a private space hotel!

BTW: current prices for Bigelow's to their in-work Alpha station, consisting of two BA-330 modules are:

  • Astronaut flights: $26.25 million/seat via Dragon/Falcon 9
  • Leasing volume: 1/3 of a BA-330 (110 cubic meters) for $25 million for 60 days, which works out to $150 million for the whole facility.

    This would work nicely for a Space Olympics! See a space olympics educational proposal

    Space hotels are, of course, part of one of the Paths to Space Settlement.