SpaceX & Bigelow Aerospace Working on Private Space StationsTwo powerhouses of the private space race have bonded together to promote private space stations. SpaceX, makers of the Falcon series of launchers and the Dragon crewed space capsule, is touring the world with Bigelow Aerospace, a company that has designed, built, and launched inflatable space station modules into orbit.
The two are touting commercial space stations as the next big thing, trying to drum up support for the concept enough for Bigelow to get some more modules into space.
Full scale mockup of Bigelow Aerospace's Space Station Alpha
Said SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell:
"SpaceX and BA have a lot in common. Both companies were founded to help create a new era in space enterprise. Together we will provide unique opportunities to entities -- whether nations or corporations -- wishing to have crewed access to the space environment for extended periods. I'm looking forward to working with Bigelow Aerospace and engaging with international customers."Bigelow Aerospace has previously launched two smaller inflatable space station modules to test their viability. Now the company is working on the BA330, a module that would launch on the Falcon 9 and would have an internal volume of 330 m2. The International Space Station in its current configuration, by comparison, has 837 m2. That would mean that with 3 launches, Bigelow could build a station with more habitable space than the ISS has.
Said Bigelow Aerospace president Robert T. Bigelow:
"We're very excited to be working with our colleagues at SpaceX to present the unique services that our two companies can offer to international clientele. We're eager to join them overseas to discuss the substantial benefits that BA 330 leasing can offer in combination with SpaceX transportation capabilities."The two will begin their marketing work in Asia, trying to drum up support in a typically forward-thinking region of the world. The companies could have a completed space station in orbit and ready for commercial traffic within the decade and probably much sooner, if there is enough financial support.