Friday, September 22, 2006
Zounds! Not Just an Orbital Hotel...It's Space Academy!
WOW! Bigelow is sending up his orbital hotel complex much earlier than expected.
Not only that, in order to ensure that his cosmic bed and breakfast has sufficient business to cover its Robin Leach level overhead, he is also going to have a section dedicated to training astronauts from various countries that don't have manned space programs yet. Lots of countries will have astronaut corps soon!
Bigelow is talking about 16 flights per year! That's about 4 TIMES what NASA does on a good year. How praytell will he pull this off?
He plans to use commercial launchers and has signed a deal with LockMart to study using their current production Atlas V as a launcher for the crew/passenger transfer capsule.
More here, here, and the best title of the lot: here.
Hat tips to Instapundit and RLV News.
This is BIG. The launch of the station solves at a stroke the chicken/egg problem of commercial space development as there is a destination for the rockets! Bigelow is not just talking with Lockmart but with other companies like SpaceX and Kistler as well, so he's not putting all, his eggs in one engineering basket, he's jump-starting at least 3 commercial launch companies manned space launchers and he's protecting himself and the public in the short term from a transport monopoly.
In the rather improbable event that NO ONE pays the 10 million dollar ticket for the space hotel package (not a high probability of that) he will certainly fill out the difference with countries who want to have a manned space program that can put as many people in orbit a year as NASA does for a fraction of the price and virtually no technical risk. John Goff at the second of the above links points out that they will likely have time to do more useful stuff.
With the recent flight of Spaceship One,THIS is the beginning of the real space age. If this is successful it will spawn competition from other hotel types (will Branson be left out? Not bloody likely!) The competition for the launchers for this burgeoning industry will, in all likelihood, cause a new wave of innovation the likes of which we haven't seen since the 50's and 60's.
The 21st century really is the future! (I was getting worried...;)
I can't think of a downside here...Oh...wait...
(You win this round...BUCKETHEAD)
UPDATE: Welcome Perfidous Partisan Persons!
UPDATE 2: This post dissapeared after I put the above update in. Fortunately, I had the original post open in another window. UNFORTUNATELY the cut/paste function would not work betwee AOL and blogger on my MAC. Thus I had to paste the post via a cirituitous path that involved another computer. Not all the permalinks may be the ones in the original post, but all go to corresponding hyperlinks.
UPDATE 3: Curry it is.... :)