February 22nd, 2011
Space Florida + Bigelow Aerospace... Sundancing Into Orbital Space (Spacecraft)
Bigelow currently has two pathfinder expandable systems successfully orbiting the Earth, and plans to build the first of multiple fully-functioning stations by 2015. The initial “Alpha” complex will be comprised of Bigelow’s patented “Sundancer” and “BA 330” modules, which are significantly larger than current modules aboard the International Space Station. Additionally, customer launch and lease rates for the facilities are expected to be extremely cost-efficient for domestic and international customers. Bigelow is marketing eighteen (18) separate human space flight programs with a variety of duration and pricing options, including an option of $28,750,000 for a 30-day astronaut visit. According to Bigelow, if the company attracts enough customers to lease all of the orbiting, inflatable modules on Complex Alpha, it could mean up to 25 launches a year – possibly from Cape Canaveral – to ferry cargo and crew. Module launches could be accommodated by current United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets or other vendors.
It is intended that this innovative partnership will help build a dynamic future for on-orbit commercial space operations, enhancing overall launch activity, employment, and growth of the aerospace field in Florida. This collaborative business development partnership will also explore approaches to supporting 1/3 scale models of the orbiting outposts in Florida. These models would assist in marketing to new customers as well as simulation of customer requirements and concepts of operations for payloads, prior to flight.