NASA has hired a new company to provide engineering support for an inflatable module on the International Space Station originally built and managed by Bigelow Aerospace.
The founder of Bigelow Aerospace says his company decided not to pursue a NASA competition for a commercial International Space Station module because of funding concerns, but remains interested in a separate effort for supporting a free-flying facility in low Earth orbit.
An experimental module added to the International Space Station three years ago to test expandable module technologies has been cleared to remain on the station through the late 2020s.
NASA’s announcement of a new low Earth orbit commercialization strategy has prompted varying degrees of interest from companies, but even the most ardent supporters caution that the “devil is in the details.”
If a new commercial space station is “paid for by Taco Bell, it will be the Taco Bell Space Station,” said Benjamin Reed, deputy director for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division.
Bigelow Aerospace has established a space operations subsidiary whose first task will be to study the market for the company's commercial space stations as it grapples with competition from China and NASA.
Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance said Oct. 17 that they are cooperating on the development of a habitat orbiting the moon that they hope to build in a public-private partnership with NASA.
NASA plans to keep an experimental expandable module attached to the International Space Station beyond its original two-year lifetime, the agency announced Oct. 2.
The chairman of the Senate space subcommittee said at a hearing April 26 that it may be time for the United States to update a key space treaty to reflect growing commercial space activities.
Bigelow Aerospace is in discussions with NASA about extended use of an experimental module added to the International Space Station last year, but both the company and the space agency say no agreement has been reached yet.
Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow said Nov. 17 that he believes that the Trump administration should as much as double NASA’s budget in the coming years and make plans for a human return to the moon.
NASA will move ahead later this year with plans to offer a docking port and other resources to companies interested in adding a commercial module to the International Space Station, NASA and the White House said Oct. 11.
As two companies move forward with plans to develop commercial modules for use on the International Space Station as precursors to independent space stations, NASA is soliciting concepts for use of a space station docking port.
Bigelow Aerospace and NASA are reevaluating their plans for the expansion of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) after astronauts on the International Space Station were unable to expand the module to its full size on Thursday.
Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance announced a partnership April 11 that could lead to the launch of a Bigelow expandable module to be installed on the International Space Station as soon as 2020.
SpaceX is prepared to launch its first cargo mission to the International Space Station since a June 2015 launch failure, a mission that will bring to the station both experiments and a prototype expandable module.