Won't these inflatable habitats be at an increased risk from micrometeorites though?
No they are better at micrometeoroid protection and radiation protection than metal. In fact NASA was thinking of upgrading the ISS by wrapping the material around the metal modules. NASA wanted to put one on the ISS for the us hab but that got cut. The Obama plan is going to add a module that is inflatable to the ISS. Let’s hope they get funding.Yuri_Armstrong":dq0ucv7a said:
Spacehawk":1ngxtbx6 said:Anyone hear anything lately on Bigelow? I wanna keep this thread alive, I think Bigelow Aerospace is probably the best thing going so far.
MeteorWayne":1fc96uja said:Yuri_Armstrong":1fc96uja said:
Actually, with their design, they are more resistant than most manned habitats.
The term "inflatable" is kind of a misconception. It creates the image of a balloon.
A better term is "expandable". The space is a rigid structure, packed so it expands and locks into place when in orbit.
It's not a balloon, more like a transformer
No they are better at micrometeoroid protection and radiation protection than metal. In fact NASA was thinking of upgrading the ISS by wrapping the material around the metal modules. NASA wanted to put one on the ISS for the us hab but that got cut. The Obama plan is going to add a module that is inflatable to the ISS. Let’s hope they get funding.
NASA originally created this technology for mars trips but more recently when CxP budget problems got out of hand the cut funding for this kind of R/D to focus money on trying to get Ares 1 to fly. Bigelow bought this technology from NASA.
The main fear with inflatable is that we don't have as much experience with them as with metal, but they are cheaper, lighter, better radiation and micrometeoroid protection than metal. Metal might have some edge I don't know about but they are very useful.
...Submitted by keithcowing
on Tue, 10/19/2010 - 07:51
Bigelow Aerospace LLC, Las Vegas, NV, has begun the process of human rating its Environmental Control and Life Support System. The contained volume humans in the loop testing is in preparation for the 2015 launch of Sundancer - an expandable module approximately 27ft long, 22ft in diameter, with an internal volume of 180m3 and supports a crew of three. When completed, the process will have demonstrated the life support system s ability to safely support a crew of three persons for extended durations. Company owner Robert T. Bigelow commented, These tests are an initial foundation that verifies safety and performance of our systems. This validation process gives our customers and ourselves confidence that we are heading in the right direction and our flight systems will be safe and reliable. The development of our modules is progressing and should align with the development of commercial crew transportation. The tests are being conducted at the facilities of Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) in Madison, WI.
This system has undergone rigorous long term testing using human metabolic simulators which has shown it to be fully capable of maintaining a living and working environment. Bigelow Aerospace has volunteered their very own astronaut and Program Manager, Bill Oefelein as well as their Chief Systems Engineer, Eric Haakonstad to be the first test subjects. We believe we have developed a great system and are willing to subject ourselves to prove it Eric stated.
Additional test crew members include Bigelow Aerospace and ORBITEC Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) engineers. The current testing is of shorter duration while the testing operations are refined. Future tests at ORBITEC and Bigelow Aerospace will be of substantially longer duration. At all times, heightened monitoring will ensure crew safety while metrics are collected on the performance of the systems. The specific systems integrated for the initial tests include thermal and humidity control, ventilation, carbon dioxide removal, trace contaminant removal, atmospheric monitoring, and vehicle thermal control. Additional systems will be added as they become available.
This testing currently being conducted provides initial data that assures the human safety of the ECLSS hardware before it is integrated into larger operational mockups at Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow Aerospace will use these systems in full scale, closed volume mockups to work out and demonstrate basic operation, maintenance and repair of such systems and will use them as training aides with its customers in the future. Tom Crabb, President of ORBITEC, commented that We are quite pleased with the ability to blend adequate testing and safety with a direct value-concentrated approach that keeps costs low for both development and operations. Further life support loop closure will make future Bigelow Aerospace operations even more cost effective for more customers. Bigelow Aerospace and ORBITEC are very excited to begin this work as it is yet another step in making the first commercial space station a reality.
...By Leonard David
SPACE.com's Space Insider Columnist
posted: 19 October 2010
09:32 pm ET
A private space company offering room on inflatable space habitats for research has found a robust international market, with eager clients signing up from space agencies, government departments and research groups.
Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, chief of Bigelow Aerospace, has been busy marketing his private space modules, an outreach effort leading to six deals being signed with clients this year.
The deals, in the form of memorandums of understanding, involve Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom.
"These are countries that do not want to be hostage to just what the International Space Station may or may not deliver," Bigelow told SPACE.com in an exclusive interview.
Bigelow founded Bigelow Aerospace in 1999, headquartered in Las Vegas, drawing upon his construction, real estate, and hotel savvy to forge the use of expandable space structures. To date, he has spent more than $200 million to hammer out his business plan for space.
A question that continues to float through the halls of NASA and the Congress: Is there a commercial market for utilizing space?
"We've got a very certain and loud answer to that. Not only is there a commercial market, but it's a one that's robust and global," said Michael Gold, director of Washington, D.C., operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace.
While countries in Asia and Europe take commercial advantage of space, "my fear is that this could become yet another extremely lucrative economic opportunity that is engendered here ... and then shipped overseas," Gold cautioned. "The U.S. Congress should spend less time questioning the business case of the commercial market. They need to spend more time trying to figure out how to grow that market and ensure that it happens here in the United States."
oldAtlas_Eguy":10ogchvq said:The Sundancer is showing on the SpaceX launch schedule as 2014/2015. Hopefully by then there will be a capability other than Soyuz to send a crew to it. At least that 2015 is what NASA claims the CCDev will be available by then and they will discontinue usage of Soyuz for US astronauts. We shall have to wait and see if NASA can be successful in not messing CCDev up.
Once Bigalow gets its Sundancer on orbit, you’re right the talking heads will have a field day with the government “waste” in the space program. But news agencies only really pay attention to real immediate controversies, not so much to possible ones.
SteveCNC":e51wza0g said:Well here I am in Vegas , I applied at Bigelow yesterday . They have got more razor wire going around that place than anything I have ever seen and unfortunatley they wouldn't let me take any pictures . Looking at their web page the construction going on seems like just a regular heigth building but in person it looks to me to be about 6 stories tall . The only thing I don't particularly care for is the location is surrounded by some of the worst neighborhoods in Vegas , I've never seen so many homeless in one place before , truely sad . But we shall see what happens when they call me in the next week or so .
SteveCNC":27n81uqj said:Well here I am in Vegas , I applied at Bigelow yesterday . They have got more razor wire going around that place than anything I have ever seen and unfortunatley they wouldn't let me take any pictures . Looking at their web page the construction going on seems like just a regular heigth building but in person it looks to me to be about 6 stories tall . The only thing I don't particularly care for is the location is surrounded by some of the worst neighborhoods in Vegas , I've never seen so many homeless in one place before , truely sad . But we shall see what happens when they call me in the next week or so .
aaron38":59f4zzj8 said:The video posted by Docm highlights exactly why I can't agree with the "we don't need super heavy lift" crowd. What is Bigelow planning for the future? Only a module, the BA2100, that would provide double the habitable volume of the entire ISS in one shot. That module can't be broken up into 20mT chunks and assembled in orbit. It has to be launched in one piece. Is launching 6 or 7 BA330s to get the same volume really cheaper?
Even assuming super heavy lift does cost a bit more, being able to launch double the ISS for a single launch costing less than a single shuttle flight is a no brainer. Launching 2 or 3 of these should be affordable.
And as for the yet to be built launch vehicle? The Bigelow rep said they'd need an 8m fairing and 100mT payload capability. There's no doubt SpaceX and Bigelow are working together. Launching that module is what the Falcon X Heavy is for, with a fairing that looks to be about 8m.
Gravity_Ray":1lu2wo9o said:I can look it up for you, but believe me developing and building a 100 MT+ launcher is stupid expensive. Plus you will basically build it for just ONE module.
Gravity_Ray":1lu2wo9o said:God forbid if you lose that launch you just lost your ass and set human space flight back several decades.
aaron38":3rnswjym said:Sure it's only for ONE module. Except of course for the VASIMR tug and every worthwhile payload to be sent to Earth and Mars, that can't be split up. Or if there's an asteroid headed our way. There's no destination beyond LEO?
oldAtlas_Eguy":1hisy7wu said:By then the oldest would start to be replaced by a much larger station, hence the need for four launches for each much larger replacement station of a 100MT HLV starting around 2025 for a total of 20 to 24 launches just to replace the smaller stations.