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ISS Businesses Earth NASA Space

Bigelow Launching New Company To Sell Private Space Stations (popularmechanics.com) 57

hyperclocker shares a report from Popular Mechanics: The future of spacecraft in lower Earth orbit (LEO) looks to be an increasingly commercial affair. Bigelow Aerospace, a Las Vegas-based company that builds livable space habitats, has now created a spinoff company known as Bigelow Space Operations (BSO). BSO will market and operate any space habitats that Bigelow sells. The creation of BSO signals that Bigelow is preparing for a future of commercial space living. Recently leaked NASA documents show that the Trump Administration wants to convert the International Space Station into a commercial venture, and BSO is betting that businesses including private scientific ventures and hotels will be interested in creating a profit above the Earth. A prototype Bigelow habitat, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), has been connected to the ISS since 2016. It's proven such a successful addition that last year NASA extended its contract for an additional three years. But Bigelow is thinking past the BEAM. In its press release announcing BSO, it highlights its planned launches of the B330-1 and B330-2, spacecraft with 6-person capacity, in 2021.
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Bigelow Launching New Company To Sell Private Space Stations

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  • Most crowd funding projects have better sites, CAD than this. Luckily with 3 years left it's more rocket science than aeronautics like the F35 stuff
    • Re:Weird (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:27AM (#56168687) Journal
      Most crowd funding projects appear to pour most of their development effort into the site rather than the product. Can't win them dollars without parallax scrolling and cool animated infographics, right? Bigelow do have a rather spartan website. I suppose they do not have to woo the crowd to get funding; their investors know what they are up to.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Most crowd funding projects haven't launched two test stations INTO ORBIT. Maybe they could use some help with their PR, but personally I put more stock in production of actual hardware & testing (see SpaceX) than flashy websites and posters.

  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @07:18AM (#56168683)

    BSO is betting that businesses including private scientific ventures and hotels will be interested in creating a profit above the Earth

    I'm curious about what kind of profit they think they might generate. At this point the only potentially profitable venture seems to be space-tourism marketed to the ultra-rich. While NASA has done some interesting experiments in orbit, it seems unlikely that the returns from orbital experiments would ever produce results which could result in profit for private enterprise.

    I am however looking forward to space tourism, if for no other reason than sheer curiosity about how long flat-earth beliefs will persist after private individuals are able to go into orbit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Space Gigolo.

      Coming to a private station near you!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      the only potentially profitable venture seems to be space-tourism marketed to the ultra-rich.

      They are expecting costs to fall significantly thanks to SpaceX and friends. At less than $100 per kg, outer space vacation will be available to more than just the ultra-rich.

      According to this [wikipedia.org], SpaceX's BFR payload capacity to LEO will be up to 150,000kg (as a reusable launcher) with an estimated cost of $7M per launch. That comes down to $47 per kg, or $3700 per (naked) person on average.
      Obviously you won't be able to cram 150,000kg of humans in a launcher, and I'm not taking supplies and life support hard

      • At $50k or maybe even $100k for a real trip (i.e. a brief stay in orbit, not Virgin's kiddie ride), hell, even li'l old me would consider it. Before I'm too old to go. Even if I could just barely afford it, it would be worth it.

        I doubt that we'll be seeing tourist trips at those prices in my lifetime though. It might be possible to offer them at that price soon, but small capacity and a huge demand likely means that they can get away with asking a multiple of that sum for a good while, and sadly that's
      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        the only potentially profitable venture seems to be space-tourism marketed to the ultra-rich.

        They are expecting costs to fall significantly thanks to SpaceX and friends. At less than $100 per kg, outer space vacation will be available to more than just the ultra-rich....But even at $50,000 per trip, I'm sure a lot of customers would show up.

        Even in America, if you have $50,000 (which is almost as much as the current median household income in the US) in liquid, disposable income that you can spend on a vacation, you are ultra rich. According to a Forbes article from last year, the average American spends around 10% of their annual household income on vacations. So for a 1 person household, that's 500k a year income. For 2 people that's 1 million a year. Going into debt for a vacation, even for a trip like going into space, is a bad idea.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          $50k is about what people pay to have a chance at climbing the Everest. Almost 1000 people attempt the climb annually.
          As a side note, given the risks and costs implied, the demographics of space tourism will probably be quite close to that of the eight-thousanders.

          • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

            $50k is about what people pay to have a chance at climbing the Everest. Almost 1000 people attempt the climb annually.

            All either professional climbers or highly experienced amateur climbers. So basically people with enough free time or flexibility to spend weeks every year traveling to fairly remote mountains to climb, over many years, and the income to support that lifestyle. You don't just call up a guide company and book a climb on Everest. They only take skilled, experienced climbers otherwise it is essentially assisted suicide. So again, not something the average person would ever experience, especially at that pr

            • FYI $50k won't get you a climb to the peak of Everest ($100k just for the permit.)

              Your post is 100% about going to the peak of Everest, but many thousands of people who are not skilled climbers do sign up to climb Everest (max Everest climb for them is to reach base camp1) then they climb to some lower peaks.near Everest. Your correct if talking reaching the peak, that is a long training journey, then at least a month in the mountain. The other climbs to the first base camp, can be around 1 week.

        • Even in America, if you have $50,000 (which is almost as much as the current median household income in the US) in liquid, disposable income that you can spend on a vacation, you are ultra rich.

          Not really, but you are well off and probably retired. My dad could afford that and he made less than I did when he retired, but he got a career job early and invested as much as he could the rest of his life. He goes on several hunting trips that cost a large fraction of that cost every year. He takes me and I meet lots of other guys that are similar. Some are from wealthy families or are successful doctors, but about half are just guys that invested their money their entire lives. $50k is pretty much che

        • You don't have to go on vacation every year. This is more of a once per lifetime thing. Having $50000 doesn't make you ultra rich. Having $50000000000 makes you ultra rich.

      • $7M is perhaps optimistic, but anything under $100M is really going to be a bargain. And $100M is rather conservative.
      • I wonder how many of the slightly overweight, first-class food riddled rich of the world could actually survive the flight? It's quite a big deal getting to and from space - it requires a level of physical fitness and stamina.

        That said, when I was single, I'd probably have thought about spending $50K to go into space for a day or two. Nowadays I've got other responsibilities, and by the time they're not so much of a concern I'll be too old and fragile to make the trip. Although maybe by then we'll have a sp

    • How long before they get C-Beams - now those would be worth seeing!

    • While NASA has done some interesting experiments in orbit, it seems unlikely that the returns from orbital experiments would ever produce results which could result in profit for private enterprise.

      You do recognize that NASA does little research at generating marketable products don't you? They are more into "pure" science than commercial research or production. Bigelow is hoping that people with potential commercial ideas will be using their stations. Also of course their stations can allow pure science to be done without (much) NASA participation and with for example SpaceX transporting the people and materials at much lower cost than was previously possible.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The flat earthers will just claim that it's distortion from the curved window installed by the sphere-cucks to make the earth look round, when it is in fact... Actually, I'm not sure what shape they think it really is, I mean is it an infinite plane or is there an edge you can fall off?

      • The flat earthers will just claim that it's distortion from the curved window installed by the sphere-cucks to make the earth look round, when it is in fact

        The Flat-Earthers won't go into space in any case, so they won't be seeing anything that breaks their world picture.

        And frankly, who really cares? Their minor insanity doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's not nearly as much a problem as the anti-vaxxers....

    • I am however looking forward to space tourism, if for no other reason than sheer curiosity about how long flat-earth beliefs will persist after private individuals are able to go into orbit.

      I think the vast majority of flat-earthers are trolls, and don't really believe that the earth is flat...

    • by Ranbot ( 2648297 )

      Beyond tourism, there are private companies making plans to do manufacturing in orbit. ( https://www.popularmechanics.c... [popularmechanics.com] ) They may need a permanent station to a support equipment, crew, computers, etc., and may welcome a functional pre-fab option, so they can focus more of their efforts on their manufacturing.

  • Finally (Score:4, Funny)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:02AM (#56168751) Homepage Journal
    Finally my dream of getting off this rock stuck in a gravity well is here! See ya!
    • If the hooker in the trunk of Musk's Tesla can escape the gravity of the earth, their is hope for you too do it someday as well!

  • Ahm, as if the other participating agencies: Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA will blindly agree to that...

    Or might the Trump administration be brooding on some Trans-Spacial Partnership with JAXA, ESA and CSA,
    sidelining the Russkies?
    • It's not Trump, this idea has been floated as early as 2015. Which shouldn't surprise anyone, the ISS was going to be decommissioned in 2016 originally, but they got an extension for 10 more years or so.
  • Given the success reported by Elon Musk in launching his Tesla car in the space, for sure they are planning to transform the space into a giant parking lot.
  • Damn, I thought my favorite tea company was jumping on a bandwagon like Long Island and blockchain

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