Bigelow Aerospace offers plan for an expandable space station orbiting the moon by 2020

Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow‘s company makes in-space habitats. One (the BEAM adds 16 cubic meters of living area to the ISS) is now attached to the International Space Station and he and his company are developing permanent, stand-alone habitats to serve as private space stations in orbit around the Earth, ready to house private astronauts.

Bigelow has talked with United Launch Alliance Chief Executive Tory Bruno about using the company’s Atlas V 552 rocket, which has an extra-wide payload fairing, to deliver the B330 into orbit.

United Launch Alliance is developing an advanced upper-stage vehicle, ACES, to provide in-space propulsion.

Two ACES in tandem could be used to move the B330 into a low lunar orbit. They orbit within 75 kilometers of the lunar surface

Bigelow has spoken SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell about using the company’s Dragon 2 spacecraft to transport astronauts to the B330 in deep space.

By 2020, NASA and commercial astronauts could be living and working in lunar orbit inside a functional space station.

Robert Bigelow @RobertTBigelow

What if the @SpaceX V2 and/or the @LockheedMartin Orion were engaged as the transportation vehicles to and from the lunar depot?

The only accommodating launch vehicle and fairing for this large B330 spacecraft is the @ulalaunch Atlas 552, stretched fairing

Robert Bigelow‏ @RobertTBigelow Feb 28

The B330 is designed to be a standalone space station capable of operating in LEO or beyond.

SOURCES- Twitter – Robert T Bigelow, Orlando Rising, Ars Technica