Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatable space stations and future plans

Bigelow Aerospace is a private company developing inflatable space stations.

In 2007, Bigelow launched the Genesis II, which was their second experimental space habitat designed.

Genesis II was identical in size to Genesis I. It is a one-third scale of the full-size BA 330 model, with on-orbit measurements of 4.4 metres (14.4 ft) in length and 2.54 metres (8.3 ft) in diameter, with an interior habitable volume of 11.5 cubic metres (406.1 cu ft).

The BA 330 would be a full-scale production module weighing approximately 43,000 pounds (20,000 kg),with dimensions of approximately 45 feet (14 m) in length and 22 ft (6.7 m) in diameter when expanded.

BA 339 compared a ISS Destiny

In December 2012, Bigelow began development work on Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) under a $17.8 million NASA contract. In 2015, BEAM is projected to be transported to ISS inside the unpressurized cargo trunk of a SpaceX Dragon during the SpaceX CRS-8 cargo mission.

The BA 2100, or Olympus module is a concept module that would require a heavy-lift launcher and would place in orbit the complete infrastructure of a 2,100-cubic-metre (74,000 cu ft) habitat, over six times as large as the BA 330. As of October 2010, initial estimates put the vehicle mass between 70-90 tonnes, with a diameter of approximately 41 feet (12 meters).

Future plans awaiting low cost launch capability

Bigelow has plans for orbital station—Space Complex Bravo— which they hoped to launch in 2016 and go into commercial operation in 2017.

This complex would consist of four BA 330 modules.

Bigelow has publicly shown space station design configurations with up to nine BA-330 modules containing 100,000 cu ft (2,800 m3) of habitable space. The conceptual configurations are listed below.

* Advanced Medical Facility (3000 m3) – Nine BA 330 modules, three propulsion buses with docking node, three crew capsules.

* Biological Containment Station Low Earth Orbit (2800 m3 habitable, 660 m3 remotely controlled)

* Biological Research Station Low Earth Orbit (2000 m3)

* Deep Space Complex (1320 m3) – Four BA 330 modules, nine propulsion buses with docking node and three docking ports.

* Lunar Depot Ares (990 m3) – Three BA 330 modules, four propulsion buses with docking nodes. The entire station would land directly onto the moon. It is intended to hold 12 astronauts but is capable of holding 18. Near the lunar base there would be a solar array field. A model of this concept has been built.

* Mars Exploration (1320 m3) – Four BA 330 modules, three propulsion buses with docking node.

*

Resupply Depot Hercules (8300 m3) – Six BA 330 modules, three BA 2100 modules, nine propulsion buses with docking node and three crew capsules.

Stem for the Classroom analyzes the Bigelow proposals for the Herecules resupply depot.

PB/DN: Combination of a Propulsion Bus attached to a Docking Node, weighs 17 mT
PB/DN Stack: Three PB/DNs attached to a Falcon Heavy that is on the Launch Pad
BA-330 Module: A Bigelow space station module that has a pressurized volume of 330 cubic meters, weighs 25 mT, and can hold 6 crew
BA-300 Stack: Two BA-300s attached to a Falcon Heavy that is on the Launch Pad
BA-2100 Module: A Bigelow space station module that has a pressurized volume of 2,100 cubic meters, weighs 100 mT, and can hold 16 crew

Hercules Space Station
(3) BA-2100 Modules
(6) BA-330 Modules
(3) PB/DNs
Hercules Space Station Weight
Three (3) BA-2100s = 3 * 100 mT = 300 mT
Six (6) BA-330s = 6 * 25 mT = 150 mT
Three (3) PB/DNs = 3 * 17 mT = 51 mT
Therefore, the space station weighs 501 mT.

Hercules Space Station Crew Size
Three (3) BA-2100s = 3 * 16 Crew = 48 Crew
Six (6) BA-330s = 6 * 6 Crew = 36 Crew
Therefore, the space station has a crew of 84.

Hercules Space Station Pressurized Volume
Three (3) BA-2100s = 3 * 2100 m^3 = 6,300 m^3
Six (6) BA-330s = 6 * 330 m^3 = 1,980 m^3
Therefore, the space station has a pressurized volume of 8,280 m^3.

This also comes out to 99 m^3 per crew member.

Hercules Space Station Launching
Three (3) BA-2100s @ 1 SLS-IA per BA-2100 = 3 BA-2100 Stacks
Six (6) BA-330s @ 1 Falcon Heavy per two (2) BA-330s = 3 BA-330 Stacks
Three (3) PB/DNs @ 1 Falcon Heavy per three (3) PB/DNs = 1 PB/DN Stack

Hercules Space Station Cost Estimate
Three (3) BA-2100s = 3 * $500,000,000 = $1,500,000,000
Six (6) BA-330s = 6 * $125,000,000 = $750,000,000
Three (3) PB/DNs = 3 * $75,000,000 = $225,000,000
Three (3) SLS-IA ELVs = 3 * $750,000,000 = $2,250,000,000
Four (4) Falcon Heavy ELVs = 4 * $150,000,000 = $600,000,000
Therefore, the space station has a total cost of $5,325,000,000 (USD).

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