NASA Awards $17.8M Contract For Inflatable Addition To Space Station

17 Jan

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NASA has announced that it has awarded a $17.8 million contract toBigelow Aerospace to build an expandable module for the International Space Station. This marks a big step forward for the commercial space company, which aims to build inexpensive commercial space stations for low Earth orbit.

Bigelow has been working on developing expandable spacecraft since its founding in 1998. In 2006 and 2007, it put its first prototypes into orbit. Bigelow’s eventual goal is to build stations for customers, with its expandable modules being able to stand alone or be combined with others to build a bigger station.

“This partnership agreement for the use of expandable habitats represents a step forward in cutting-edge technology that can allow humans to thrive in space safely and affordably, and heralds important progress in U.S. commercial space innovation,” NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver saidin a statement.

Details about the module, and a schedule for its addition to the station, will be released in a press event on Wednesday. There may be one tantalizing hint, though – Bigelow Aerospace does have a launch scheduled with SpaceX for 2015. However, there’s no indication from either company as to what the payload on that launch may be. Looks like we’ll just have to wait a couple of days to learn more.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2013/01/14/nasa-awards-17-8m-contract-f…

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