Bigelow Aerospace’s historic first commercial space station will open up extraordinary opportunities for countries across the globe. Nations such as Japan, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden could secure the future of their human spaceflight programs and dramatically increase the size of their astronaut corps. Smaller countries with no human spaceflight experience such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates could take their first bold steps into space in a rapid and affordable fashion.
* 8% lower cost ($36.75 million instead of 40 million) for astronauts but able to stay up to 9 times longer (60 days instead of 7 days)
Astronaut Flights: For countries, companies, or even visiting individuals that wish to utilize SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, Bigelow Aerospace will be able to transport an astronaut to the Alpha Station for only $26.25 million. Using Boeing’s CST-100 capsule and the Atlas V rocket, astronauts can be launched to the Alpha Station for $36.75 million per seat. In stark contrast to the short stays of a week or so aboard the ISS that we have seen wealthy individuals pay as much as $40 million for, astronauts visiting the Bigelow station will enjoy 10 – 60 days in orbit. During this time, visiting astronauts will be granted access to the Alpha Station’s shared research facilities. Examples of available equipment include a centrifuge, glove-box, microscope, furnace, and freezer. Also, potential clients should note that as opposed to the ISS, where astronauts dedicate the lion’s share of their time to supporting station operations and maintenance, astronauts aboard the Alpha Station will be able to focus exclusively on their own experiments and activities, ensuring that both nations and companies can gain full value from their investment in a human spaceflight program.
Lease Blocks: For clients that wish to enjoy exclusive access to and control over their own on-orbit volume and facilities, Bigelow Aerospace customers can lease a third of a BA 330 habitat, roughly 110 cubic meters (equal to an entire ISS module), for a period of 60 days, for only $25 million. This unprecedented amount of volume will allow clients to utilize a significant portion of a space station for their own uninterrupted work and use to fly experiments or other payloads. For example, if a client chose to fill a single lease block with 50 or more experiments, the flight cost of sending an individual experiment to the Alpha Station would only be $500,000 or less for two months.
Per the information above, utilizing a Falcon 9 and Dragon, for only $51.25 million, a client can travel to the Alpha Station for two months and enjoy dominion over 110 cubic meters of volume for 60 days. Additionally, Alpha Station clientele will be allowed to sublease their on-orbit volume or resell purchased astronaut seats. This flexibility will provide clients with the opportunity to reduce their own costs or even make a profit.