Spacex reusable rockets and Bigelow Aerospace inflatable stations

Bigelow Aerospace inflatable space stations needs low cost launches that are human rated.

Spacex could have a reusable first stage as early as 2014, but Bigelow needs human rated launch capability. The larger modules need Spacex Heavy launch capabilities which could be proved in 2014 as well. Human rated Spacex launches might take until 2016-2019.

Bigelow has stated on multiple occasions that he is prepared to fund Bigelow Aerospace with about US$500 million through 2015 in order to achieve launch of full-scale hardware.

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 spaceflight is intended to test the BEAM module’s structural integrity, leak rate, radiation dosage and temperature changes over a notional two-year long mission. At the end of BEAM’s mission, the module is planned to be removed from the ISS and burn up during reentry.

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