Bigelow Aerospace has just announced the creation of a new subsidiary that represents a bold new push for space stations.
Bigelow Aerospace has announced the creation of Bigelow Space Operations, indicating the company is looking to build commercial living spaces in space. They are the creator of Bigelow Expandable Activity Modules, or BEAM, which has already been connected to the International Space Station, and this reorganization shows they have huge plans beyond that.
The company will soon launch some additional space stations that it has called B3330s. These stations have 12,000 cubic feet of space when totally expanded, or about a third of the space offered by the International Space Station. The company hopes to launch them on two spacecraft by around 2021.
And Bigelow Aerospace is not going to stop there, with plans to build a single space station that will have 2.4 times the volume of the ISS, despite being launched on a single rocket. The company believes that B330s can offer a place for scientific research in space that is a fraction of the cost of the ISS.
“Bigelow Space Operations has a mission to market and operate these and other space stations including future generations developed by Bigelow Aerospace that are so capable, so diverse and so large that they can accommodate virtually unlimited use almost anywhere.,” the company said in a statement. “Over time, Bigelow Aerospace will manufacture a single station, launched on a single rocket that will contain over 2.4 times the pressurized volume of the entire International Space Station, and we intend for BSO to market and operate these also. A new manufacturing facility for these giant stations would have to be built in Florida, Alabama or other suitable location.”