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Bigelow Aerospace, A new Genesis in space
ljk4-1
post Jun 1 2006, 07:18 PM
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To quote:

On June 16, he'll use a Russian Dnepr rocket to launch a 1/3-scale Genesis model of his planned commercial orbital space station. That much has been public for a while. What I didn't learn until just now is what will be on that module.

Freefloating inside will be 1,000 photocards and small personal objects contributed by Bigelow employees. If all goes well, those items will be continuously blown throughout the pressurized module in a kind of space collage. Six onboard cameras will stream video to Bigelow's new website, which will launch tomorrow or Friday. Seven external cameras will provide views of the Earth from space and the outside of the module.

If that doesn't get even the most disinterested member of the public at least intrigued about the possibilities of space travel, I don't know what will.

But it gets better. Subject to a successful launch of the first module, Bigelow will launch a second Genesis module in September, and that one will contain photos and other small items contributed by anyone who cares to pony up $295.

Full article here:

http://michaelbelfiore.com/blog/2006/05/bi...s-to-orbit.html


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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chris
post Jun 2 2006, 09:10 AM
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Given that its an unmanned flight, the idea of sending up something like one of these on behalf of us all has some appeal smile.gif

Chris
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AndyWard
post Jun 2 2006, 11:52 AM
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QUOTE (chris @ Jun 2 2006, 10:10 AM) *
Given that its an unmanned flight, the idea of sending up something like one of these on behalf of us all has some appeal smile.gif


And since it's an inflatable module, the button pin has a small chance of making things really exciting... :-)

Presumably these things are designed to be robust to small holes.

Andy
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ustrax
post Jun 2 2006, 02:01 PM
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QUOTE (AndyWard @ Jun 2 2006, 12:52 PM) *
And since it's an inflatable module, the button pin has a small chance of making things really exciting... :-)


laugh.gif


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Bob Shaw
post Jun 2 2006, 02:40 PM
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QUOTE (AndyWard @ Jun 2 2006, 12:52 PM) *
And since it's an inflatable module, the button pin has a small chance of making things really exciting... :-)

Presumably these things are designed to be robust to small holes.

Andy


Andy:

All joking aside, the TransHab technology is in many ways *more* resilient than 'traditional' metal spacecraft pressure vessels - and in any case, both are actually inflated structures. The benefits of the TransHab/Genesis way of doing things are actually numerous - it's very, very attractive as a way to build decent-sized habitable spaces.

Bob Shaw


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ljk4-1
post Jun 7 2006, 04:04 PM
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Test flight for space hotel delayed

Russian launch of Bigelow's inflatable module now set for July

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13171475/

By James Oberg, NBC News space analyst

Special to MSNBC

The much-anticipated first orbital test of technology that could lead to
a "space hotel" will be delayed, Bigelow Aerospace announced Tuesday. The
blastoff, widely believed to have been planned for June 16, will now not
take place before early July.

"We have just been informed that there will be a three- to four-week
delay of our first launch," Chris Reed, publicist for the Las Vegas-based
company, said in an e-mail advisory. "We are told that if there are no other
delays, our new launch time frame will be between July 4th and July 14th."

The Genesis 1 payload will be a one-third-scale model of an inflatable
habitation module that could form the backbone of an orbital facility for
space tourists and commercial space researchers sometime in the next decade.
NASA experimented with the concept early in the international space station
program, but budget cuts forced them to terminate research. Bigelow
Aerospace has picked up that approach and has perfected the technology,
observers say.

The test flight is expected to subject the flexible exterior wall
material to space conditions for an extended period of time, while interior
instrumentation will monitor pressure and temperature. In theory, a flexible
wall should be even more resistant than a metal wall to penetration by
micrometeorites and space debris.

In addition to the space hotel angle, the mission is of high interest
because it would be the first commercial satellite launch from an active
Russian military missile base, where dozens of SS-18 Satan intercontinental
ballistic missiles remain aimed at the United States, each with 10
thermonuclear warheads.

The launch vehicle, a commercialized version of the SS-18 called the
Dnepr, has already made several successful satellite launches from the
Russian main spaceport at Baikonur in Kazakhstan. Commercialized by the
Kosmotras Corp., it can carry up to 3 tons of cargo into orbit.

Two years of preparation -- For the past two years, officials of the
Russian Defense Ministry have been

preparing to launch the same commercial configuration directly from this
military base. In that way, the operational budget will go to the Strategic
Rocket Forces, the agency that runs the base at Dombarovsky, rather than the
Military Space Forces, which until recently ran most of the Baikonur
operations.

Genesis 1 will be only the first of a long series of commercial satellite
launches that it is hoped will be made from Dombarovsky, a missile base just
east of Orsk in the southwest corner of Siberia.

According to Reed, the reasons for the Genesis 1 delay are "due to
special preparations that the launch provider is continuing to make for our
flight." Bigelow Aerospace only last week unveiled new pages on its Web site
dealing with hitherto-undisclosed features of the payload, involving views
that will be transmitted to Earth.

"This flight contains our Genesis 1 spacecraft with a total of 13 cameras
inside and outside the spacecraft," Reed explained. External cameras will
show scenes of Earth. The interior cameras will show floating personal items
placed aboard the spacecraft by the firm's employees.

Fees for flying mementos -- Bigelow Aerospace is now seeking private
customers willing to pay modest fees to place their own personal items on
the next payload. "The Genesis 2 spacecraft scheduled to fly this coming
fall will be our first commercial effort," Reed continued, "and it is for
that flight that we are currently taking only reservations.

"If the Genesis 1 spacecraft functions as anticipated," he said, "we
shall then proceed to contact all of the parties who have made Genesis 2
reservations and complete the transactions to 'Fly Your Stuff.'"

Reservations are still being taken, he added.

"Only after we have launched our first spacecraft and obtained
satisfactory results from a variety of information sources onboard the
spacecraft will we then actually convert reservations to purchases," he
explained.

Photo: Eventually, Bigelow Aerospace hopes to dock inflatable space
modules together in orbit to construct a hotel, as shown in this artist's
conception.


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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RNeuhaus
post Jun 7 2006, 07:50 PM
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A new updated news about an inflatable spacecraft. A silly thing! biggrin.gif

An article from newscientist.com

Rodolfo
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hal_9000
post Jul 12 2006, 02:43 PM
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From http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2006/07/10/998.aspx

It's taken months longer than he hoped, but real-estate billionaire Robert Bigelow might just see his first orbital spacecraft take flight at last on Wednesday, courtesy of a converted Russian intercontinental ballistic missile.

If Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis 1 inflatable space module lifts off successfully, the test mission could mark a significant step toward an era of hotels and even sports complexes in space.

Russia's Federal Space Agency lists Genesis 1 for a Wednesday launch from the Dombarovsky military missile base in southwestern Siberia. This would be the first on-orbit test of Bigelow's inflatable-module concept, which was actually developed at NASA for future space station modules or Mars ships. When NASA canned the concept, which was known as Transhab, Bigelow bought the rights to commercialize the idea - and hired some of the original designers.

The concept calls for sending up a compressed, soft-sided spacecraft that could be inflated once it's in orbit - sort of like one of those blow-up kiddie play chambers you see at carnivals. Only in this case, the walls are made out of graphite-fiber composite materials that would be tough enough to stand up to encounters with micrometeoroids and orbital debris.
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argv
post Jul 12 2006, 05:16 PM
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space.com reports the thing has been launched into orbit.
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nprev
post Jul 12 2006, 06:12 PM
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Pretty cool, and definitely ambitious. Here's the story link:

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/06071...s-1_launch.html

You know, one definite advantage of this concept is that there's a LOT less risk of secondary radiation from cosmic ray impacts... pretty hard to blow a carbon nucleus apart! laugh.gif


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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Jul 12 2006, 07:11 PM
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There is a famous architecture book entitled Learning from Las Vegas, often praised for examining the interesting and original designs of its casinos and hotels without condescension. Kind of ironic that a Las Vegas company (Bigelow Aeorspace) is taking this step now.

I'm somewhat skeptical about this particular mission, but I applaud the general idea. If people can find a practical and economically viable reason for people to go into space, it could encourage private sector R&D and provide inncentives for the development of cheaper technology. More and more, I feel that organizations like NASA and ESA are a hinderence, planning the development of space around burocratic, politcial and academic goals that are often very short sighted. I think much more rapid and practical progress will be made if captialism can get a better toe hold in space.
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argv
post Jul 12 2006, 08:03 PM
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the bbc science/technology website has a little more info on the launch now.
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mars loon
post Jul 13 2006, 01:20 AM
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There is also a mention on NASAWATCH today July 12

http://nasawatch.com/

and some more info in this AP article

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060712/ap_on_...e_space_station
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tfisher
post Jul 13 2006, 01:42 AM
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This is exciting for the reason that it is something completely different than anything that has been done before. Different because it is a pure research and development payload. Different because it is the first inflatable design tested in orbit. Different because it is actual hardware in space by one of companies that wants to build up private access to orbit. This is, along with Rutan's spaceshipone, one of strongest indications that private manned spaceflight is finally coming of age.
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hal_9000
post Jul 13 2006, 02:31 AM
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From http://www.livescience.com/blogs/author/leonarddavid

Bigelow Module: Orbital Updates
Posted on July 12, 2006 @ 18:57:51 EDT
Author Leonard David

Robert Bigelow, head of Bigelow Aerospace has confirmed that the Genesis-1 spacecraft has successfully expanded. “We have also confirmed that all of the solar arrays have been deployed,” he noted.

At the firm’s mission control center in Las Vegas, Nevada, information has been acquired from Genesis-1. “The ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket has flawlessly delivered the Genesis-1 into the target orbit of 550 kilometers altitude at 64 degrees inclination,” Bigelow said.

An early look at the telemetry indicated that the module’s internal battery is at a full charge of 26 volts – indicating that the solar arrays were deployed.

“The internal temperature of the spacecraft is reported to be 26 degrees Celsius and we have acquired the spacecraft’s Global Positioning System (GPS) signal that will enable us to track the ship in flight,” Bigelow reported. “We have initiated communication with the ship’s onboard computers and expect to download more information over the next few hours.”

Mark Pierson a key Genesis-1 architect told SPACE.com late Wednesday that “Genesis-1 is alive and well…and it’s talking…and we have a valid ground track.”

“The telemetry tells us that we’re inflated and deployed,” Pierson said. The expandable module has reached 8 feet in diameter under an automated sequence.

“It’s going better than we would have anticipated,” added Mike Gold, corporate counsel for Bigelow Aerospace in Washington, D.C. Both he and Pierson, and other Bigelow Aerospace personnel were on hand for the Dnepr liftoff that placed Genesis-1 into Earth orbit.
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