The Space hotel business has been waiting for heavy lift to launch its space stations and man-rated rockets to fly passengers into space. 2018, could finally see American rockets get man-rating.
SpaceX received a $2.6 billion contract from NASA to build spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeing also received a contract. Launch plans are scheduled for 2018. SpaceX is developing the Dragon 2 spacecraft and Boeing is building the CST-100 Starliner.
The pressurized volume of a 20-ton B330 module is 330 cubic meters, compared to 106 cubic meters of the 15 ton ISS Destiny module. Thus B330 offers 210% more habitable space, with an increase in mass of only 33%. Bigelow also claims that the module provides radiation protection equivalent to, and ballistic protection superior to, the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy has a launch window today when it could have its first test flight. When the SpaceX Falcon Heavy has successful flights, then adding two additional side boosters to increase launch capacity to 100 tons would as difficult as the upgrade from the Falcon 9 to the Falcon Heavy. A Falcon Super Heavy would be able to launch 100 tons to low earth orbit.
Many rockets should be capable of launching the B330 module.
The Bigelow Aerospace BA 2100, or Olympus, is a conceptual design for a larger, heavier, and more capable expandable space station module, or interplanetary human transport module. The larger BA 2100 would extend the volume and capabilities of the BA 330 module, which is under development as part of the Bigelow Commercial Space Station. As with the BA 330 module, the number in the name refers to the number of cubic meters of space offered by the module when fully expanded in space.
The weight of the BA 2100 could be as low as 65 to 70 tonnes (143,000 to 154,000 lb), but would more likely be “in the range of 100 metric tons”. It is substantially larger than the BA 330, with the docking ends of the module alone estimated at approximately 25 feet (7.6 m) in diameter. The concept model showed the docking ports at both ends. The BA 2100 would require the use of a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle–and would require an 8-meter (26 ft) fairing for launch.
Pressurized volume of single BA 2100 module is 2,250 cubic meters (79,000 cu ft), compared to 931 cubic meters (32,900 cu ft) volume of the whole International Space Station as of May 2016.
Bigelow Aerospace has been waiting for the Heavy launch of the Space Launch System for the BA2100 but a Falcon Super Heavy could be ready next year. The other thing that Bigelow Aerospace has been waiting for is systems approved for launching people.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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